25 March 2012

a wee bit different

Last month while I was waiting for various kiln loads of steel and bronze metal clay to fire, I decided to make some chain links.  I love making chain and used to have a few pieces in my wholesale line that were metal clay and sterling links.  But it had been awhile.  With the cost of silver so high, I'd been hoarding my 14 gauge wire, just in case ... for what ... I have no idea. 

So I just decided to say what the heck, not worry about the cost or the what-if's and have some fun.  I've been tweaking it here and there since then, but am finally satisfied with the length and balance and have called it done.

This is my Eccentric Links necklace and it just got listed on Etsy

I love the subtle texture I get during the forging ... a combination of the worn face of my treasured vintage ball peen hammer and the solid chunk of steel I've been using as an anvil for the last 15 years.

On a softer note, I also just listed this year's interpretations of my Sea Spray earrings and a continuation of the Sea Goddess series.  As of right now, I'm liking this pair best ... elegant and breezy. 

Today's been dreary and damp and chilly and my mood has been about the same.  But taking the time to photograph and caress these lovelies has improved my gray mood considerably.  Okay, back to what I'm really s'posed to be doing ... working on a wholesale order.

Thanks to all the new members and for all the wonderful and supportive comments ... it's been an amazing week.

with deep gratitude and heartfelt blessings.
l i g a - kvk

22 March 2012


I don't normally do this, but I was so moved by this letter from an Etsy customer, I just had to share.   Inspiration and motivation can come from many places and the generous souls who purchase my work are an essential component.  I create work that pleases me, but bottom line, without you, it would seem mere narcissism.  My jewelry is made to share, to spread the love and good intentions I work into each piece and when I receive letters such as this, it is blessed affirmation that what I do is understood and appreciated.

These are the pieces that were purchased and sent off to Athens, Greece ...  

 Gemstone Ocean Cairn, blue labradorite, mystic topaz and iolite

vesuvianite and raw diamonds on forged steel earrings

The letter from Greece:

"My dearest Kathy, i received your lovely jewels about a week after you sent them.
and i was very happy to have them.

the necklace: i wear it all the time since that day even when i sleep. labradorite is my friend, iolite is strong and helps me to purify myself, and mystic topaz, they say, has the power of directing energy. we ll see. silver disks are like water, giving motion, reflecting the sun and the moon, like small lakes under waterfalls and all these hanging from a nice black cord, your urban primitive style which i love.

the earrings: i wear them a lot. everyone notices them. whether you believe it or not there is a story about them. vesuvianite has the power of carmic justice, diamonds have the power of accord and the circle above them is the circle of samsara which is open when you realize the mistakes you repeit through lives.  in addition your earrings are the symbol of consious feminine.

Thank you deeply for all these. you have a gift.
maybe you can make a mediteranean sea neckace and put all the blessings for my people here in Greece. i am not saying i ll buy it because we re having a hard time here but anyway...

and these words may all go to infinite now.."

I am truly humbled ... with a tear in my eye, a bit of a knot in my throat.  I'm thinking I will definitely work on a few pieces for the people of Greece.

l i g a - kvk

p.s.  I don't always consider the metaphysical properties of the shapes and gemstones I use.  It seems I have an intuitive ability to put things together in a powerful way.  I very much like that it's not a conscious thing ... it feels more genuine, not contrived.

21 March 2012

golly ...

What a day!
I started off my morning writing my navel-gazing post with 62 followers on this little blog.   
I've gotten really wonderful comments regarding that post (which I happen to really like) and I'm up to 70 followers ... woo hoo!  So very cool!
Then I saw that Shannon over at MissFickleMedia had done a whole post about my work - a great big Thank You, Shannon ... equally cool!
The icing on the cake, I finished the muse-inspired necklaces I was working on last week.  I'll be listing these on Etsy tomorrow, but here's a sneak peek.

The idea for the leather at the back of the neck was another lovely gift of my muse from this morning.  The leather is rolled around the cord, then secured with waxed linen wraps, plus it feels wonderful.

And this may be one of my favorite necklaces of all time ... pretty amazing if I do say so my own self.

This is a stout piece, which is why I wanted the leather at the neck.  It is the perfect embodiment of my Urban Primitive series and makes me exceedingly happy.

Yes, indeed ... it's been quite a day.
To everyone who's joined in my spirit and creativity mining expedition, my deepest gratitude and heartfelt thanks.

l i g a - kvk

accept or resist

Before I can make a choice, I want to understand what it is ... I'm trying to figure out this one thing, this part of me - is it my true nature, a habit or something else.

I've always thought of myself as someone who's on top of things, organized, professional, but not too obsessive about it ... basically a Type A but with underlying slacker tendencies.  But over the last three years I've been changing.  It's hard to know what's really happening, there's been so much going, in my own world and the world at large.

There's the cross country move, from Port Townsend back to western North Carolina - no small thing.
There's menopause - basically, I'm done ... well there's still those mild hot flashes every now and then, but not much else in the way of tangible changes.
I just turned 56 and while I feel more like 38 (how old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?), there's definitely physiological things going on that can't be ignored.
There's global economic woes that I have no control over, but may be affecting my business.  Personally, I think it's me, not the economy.
And of course there's all the insane planetary stuff ... oof! 

Alright, so you're wondering where I'm going with all this.  I guess my starting place is communications ... it's a total love/hate relationship.  Let's start with the telephone.  I don't really care for the telephone, but it's not unusual that I'll talk for an hour or more to friends and family.  BTW - I really don't like my cell phone.  But most of the time, I'm woefully remiss in calling my family and friends ... just ask my Mom.

Then there's email.  I love checking email, but have a hard time responding in a timely fashion.  The only problem with not responding right away ... those lovely emails pile up and become a source of guilt and dread.  As I'm writing this, I'm remembering another factor ... I'm very much an introvert.  Myers Briggs profile, INFJ. 

The next question is, why am I writing about this right now?  I've got a couple of very nice success stories, but for the most part, me and my business have been cruising under the radar for a very long time.  I really want to change that and this is where the acceptance/resistance thing comes in.

I'm seeing the numbers of people following this blog increase ... my number of official followers has doubled over the last couple of months.  Sixty-two is not much for most of my blog buddies, but it's a big deal for me.  My blogging friends will get 62 comments on a post, me ... not so much.  Part of the blog thing is comments ... I love comments - really I do.  But that introvert/communication thing kicks in and sometimes it takes me a week or two to respond.  Sometimes I respond straight away, most times not.

So what's worrying me is, do I really want to merge onto the big business highway and if I really want to jump into the fast lane, can I change my mode of operation?  Do I need to change?  I've always said, "when I grow up, I want to be eccentric."  Is that happening?  Is that okay?    

Something else I should mention ... I'm a bit of a control freak (Nina don't laugh).  But these last three years have pretty much thrown me for a loop, so many changes ... I can't figure it out.  That hard core logical side of me, that Type A persona is morphing into something new and different and unknown and, truth be told, kind of scary.  I take great pride in knowing myself, having a clear understanding of my inner workings and motivations.  Lately, I don't have a bloody clue. 

I'm an emerging artist ... a 56 year old, post-menopausal emerging artist/crone/wise woman/healer ... other monikers TBD.

So the question remains ... accept or resist?  I'm with the Borg, "resistance is futile."  Looks like I'll accept.  No idea what that means, but it promises to be an interesting ride.

onward .........

l i g a - kvk

p.s.  wow, I'm up to 64!  cool beans ... thanks kids!

16 March 2012

drum roll please .............

First ... turns out I had feedback coming from two places - Facebook and the blog.  Seemed kind of controlling and mean-spirited to make the FB people repeat their comments on the blog, so of course I've included their names in the drawing. 

.........and the winner is:

... Marjorie Windman Oxman - a Facebook friend ... congratulations Marjorie!

And of course, a huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone who commented and left such excellent feedback.  It was a record number for me (19) ... seems my numbers are growing ... this would be smiling quite a bit.

If you go back to the site, per your feedback, you'll see I've made quite a few changes.  There's still more to do, like updating my text pages, Nuts & Bolts and the Maker's Mark.  I need to put on my writer's hat to do those and hopefully I'll don that chapeau in the next few days.

One thing is for sure, things are always changing around here ... me, my work, my websites ... I am ever a work in progress, flux personified ... chaos moving towards order.  But that's a good thing, n'est-ce pas?

So, once again - Thank you everyone who took the time to peruse my site and leave such excellent and constructive critiques and a big congratulations to Marjorie.  Email me and let me know your snail mail address and I'll send your goody on its way (email link is on the sidebar).

l i g a - kvk

14 March 2012

wildly diverse

So far this week I've been kind of all over the place.  There have been massive tweaks to my website and I'm sending out heartfelt thanks to everyone for all the comments (don't forget - the drawing's on Friday).  I'm thinking it's getting pretty close to done ... a relative thing, since I'm always adjusting things.  Of course there are things I'm really supposed to be doing, but my muse has been calling and it seemed rude to ignore her.

My muse has been sending me a variety of inspirations and I've been trying to go with it ... strike while the wildly diverse ideas are flowing.  Over the weekend, I had an Etsy customer ask about some earrings I'd made a couple of years ago.  I always loved those earrings and sold all the pieces in the series, so I thought what the heck - I'll revisit that collection and see where it takes me today.

Current interpretations of my Sea Spray earrings.  They're pretty luxe and very frilly.  I started with a color combination I'm calling Hyacinth - pretty much screams spring time, don't ya think ...

These are a little closer to the original, such soft colors - Pacific Sea Spray ...

These are closer still to the original colors, close, but different ...

I'm going to make more earrings and some necklaces, but my muse sent me off in another, very different direction.

I've had a few bronze discs from my last firing sitting on my table.  I loved the way they looked straight out of the charcoal, kind of mottled and very earthy.  I left them 'as is' - no patina, no tumbler - very raw.  So somewhere in the last few days, I can't remember now, I made a whole bunch more, fired them, added them to the first few, waiting for further inspiration.

Yesterday, it hit and now I've used up the pieces I made, ordered more bronze and I'm about to bust, these are so bloody cool.

I'm still working on this first one.  The quartz pebbles are what got me going.  Only thing, it took about 45 minutes and multiple drill bits to drill these 2 pebbles.  I'm thinking that's not the best use of my time and materials ... dern quartz.  Love the look, though.  I added a jumbo citrine nugget (a gift from Andrew!) and a mondo Basha bead.  I've got sort of an idea of how I want to finish it, but so far the details are eluding me.  I do love the raw bronze with this rugged mix ... it is seriously chunky!

And these little chunky discs ... did I mention I can't wait for my bronze to get here.  They're combined with 3 beach pebbles ... so much easier to drill than quartz.

I thought the first piece was going to be my favorite, but this next one might be winning out.  The wonderful flat slate pebbles are from a special place along the Oconaluftee River that Nina took me a while back ... they're really easy to drill.  It's not finished either.  I need to make some kvk tags and some heavier pebbles for closures.  Waitin' on that bronze .........

But it's not been all ice cream and cake.  Yesterday I fired some steel and most of the pieces didn't sinter - very frustrating.  I need to go back and read through the directions, do some troubleshooting and see what the problem might be - very frustrating, indeed.

Add to the frustrations, my addiction to this computer.  I've been trying to stay off it during the day, but it's not gone well.  Problem is, the only way I can listen to music is through the computer - there it sits and, especially if I'm listening to Pandora, I'm glancing over to see what's playing or to plug in a thumbs up or down.  I'm not giving up, it's just a work in progress - or rather, I'm just a work in progress.

And people may think I'm crazy, but I really have been enjoying working while the windows are open and the breeze is blowing in and the birds are singing like crazy.  I'm sure most everyone else would be outside, but inspiration was flowing and after reading Danielle's daily truth bomb, well like I was saying, it seemed kind of rude to ignore her.

happy spring!

l i g a - kvk

p.s.  comments on the updated website are still very much appreciated, so have at it!

12 March 2012

urban primitive giveaway ... round 2

Wow!  lots of great feedback and suggestions sent me back to the editing suite.  I've made quite a few changes, so if you've got the time, I'd love to hear more! 

revised home page for KathyVanKleeck.com.........

And don't forget ... if you'll peruse the new site, look for glitches or corrections, then leave a comment on this blog, I'll plop your name in the hat for a chance to win this Urban Primitive Steel Portal Pendant.

So check out the new site, leave a comment here for the drawing on Friday the 16th.

You guys are great!  Thanks so much!

l i g a - kvk

11 March 2012

urban primitive giveaway

Okay kids ......
I've just finished updating my website!  New home page, new fonts (I actually bought the main display font), new work - you know ... updated!

I do love that display font.  I think it really speaks to my concept of "urban primitive."  It's one of those 'dirty' fonts with chaotic splotches and lines within the very crisp lettering.  You'll notice I've got variations of the home page image running as headers on my other sites - I'm quite fond of the doctored version on this blog and Etsy and Facebook.  I'd really like to change the whole look of the website, but that can't happen until I re-shoot my entire catalog.  And since I just shipped the samples back out west, it won't be happening anytime soon.  Ah well, one of these days.......... 

So of course I'm looking for feedback and, even more importantly, if there are any glitches or inconsistencies ... links don't work, font colors are not consistent, images with text that should be centered and are off a pixel or 2.  If you've ever built a website from scratch, you'll know just how cross-eyed you can get.  Then there's the added challenge of remembering to stretch my right arm and shoulder so's it doesn't freeze up, which it has done and which hurts like the dickens. 

As an incentive ... check it out, leave a comment and I'll throw your name in the hat to win this Urban Primitive Steel Portal Pendant.

This one's the polished steel with bronze.  It has my 'l i g a" blessing written on my hand cut and dyed silk, adjusts from 34" down to 18" with sliding knots on my hand-plied silk cord - a KVK bronze tag at one knot and a Rory Raku bead at the other.

So check out the new and improved site and let me know what you think.  I'll draw names this coming Friday the 16th.

Thanks in advance!

l i g a - kvk

06 March 2012

me again

more excellent viewing.
This is really quite brilliant and will need more viewings for the message to sink in!  Seems like a message worth sharing......

l i g a - kvk

05 March 2012

burning questions and abundant joy

This morning's awareness/realization:
Big dreams and expansive visions come to me often ... but then I start in on 'figuring them out', how can I make them happen?  I take those big, excellent visions and I work to fit them into the box of my current perceptions, my reality as I perceive it today, with all its limitations and boundaries and parameters ... hedging my bets always, never really pushing off from the shore, never really making that leap of faith. 

Well, the truth is, I've had big dreams come true, I have made those leaps, and I know how exhilarating it is.  But lately, I've gotten all wrapped up in the figuring it out part and forget to let go.  You might have noticed I'm in my head ... a lot ... and did I ever mention my overarching need to be in control? 
Controlled dreaming ... how's that for an oxymoron?

I've also been all tied up with the idea of how to grow my business.  It's turned into a chicken and egg thing.  I want to do this, but first I should probably do that, but if I do that, then I should really do this other thing and what if that doesn't work, should I go back to that first thing ... etc. etc. etc.  Sheesh!

This morning I read Danielle's Burning Question post, "what boat do you need to burn?"  That's what got me to thinking about how I downsize my dreams.  I pulled out my Spark Kit and went back through the Authentic Dreaming section.  Forward progress may be in the works.

So "what boat do I need to burn?"  My safety boat with that impossibly long rope that never lets go of the dock.

A few things to consider and in no particular order:

1st and foremost ... I am a maker.

I've gotten snarled up in unfocused ambition loosely aimed at a not well defined concept of success.

Social media feels like scrabbling and straining and striving and pining for my little piece of the pie ... pick me, pick me!

I want to re-frame and adjust my target, which goes back to #1, creating.  I create work that I love and am proud to share; work that is deeply felt and resonates with an audience of like-hearted souls who gladly support the work, spreading the love and joy that is the foundation of all I do.

Bottom line ... the starting point should always be about joy, abundant joy and laughter. 

Case in point, Wavy Gravy.  Except for his role at Woodstock, I knew virtually nothing about this man.  To restore some faith in humanity and just for the joy of it, watch Saint Misbehavin'.  It's streaming on Netflix.  It should be viewed at least once a month.

Saint Misbehavin': The Wavy Gravy Movie - Theatrical Trailer from Ripple Effect Films on Vimeo.

onward .......
l i g a - kvk

01 March 2012


Kind of where I'm at ... withdrawn a bit and what happens when I get sensory overload, hit with ideas or questions that I can't process straight away ... it also includes keeping up with blog comments and making timely and appropriate responses.  It's just how I process things.  Sometimes things are easy, sometimes I move forward effortlessly, with great assurance.  More often, I withdraw, ruminate and ponder, emerge at a later date, hopefully with a degree of clarity, maybe energized, maybe more calm ... withdraw mostly ... emerge always. 

So as I look at the emails accumulating in my in-box, among them questions that have challenged my perspective and the comments you've so graciously taken the time to post, please know you are not being ignored ... I'm just in process mode, a wee bit withdrawn, wondering if this is a just a habit that can be changed or my true nature ... do I embrace it or struggle with it?

I don't know ... just need to process a bit more.

l i g a - kvk