26 July 2012

where to start ......

....... it's been such an extraordinary week.
The Etsy Anniversary sale was a great success.  That success provided funding for a psychic consultation (a great story) and an amazing haul at the gem show (the story continues) ... so a huge huge thank you to my Etsy following ... I am so very blessed.

First the story of the psychic. 
I know, for myriad reasons, we've all lost touch with people in our lives.  After 13 years (maybe longer), I just reconnected with a dear friend.  I've tried off and on through the years to find her via the internet.  Back when we were in touch, she was working for her brother's backpack company, Osprey packs (world class, top of the line packs) as well as building a photo journalistic portfolio with a focus on child labor in India and building an adobe house in SW Colorado with her new husband.  We last saw each other when she came east to do a series of technical workshops for the packs.  I road along ... a glorious week of chatting and traveling.  Back in February, I took another shot and there she was. 

Rachel and her family, husband and 2 kids, had moved back to her home town of Santa Cruz, CA.  Along the way, she'd gone back to school and become a counselor.  Turns out she's also been developing her psychic gifts through the years as an added component to her counseling skills.  I emailed her straight away and waited and waited.  No idea if she'd gotten the email or if she was interested in reconnecting.  Then a few days ago, she emailed me back!  I burst into tears when I read her email ... I was absolutely overcome.

It's a teeny picture, but here's my long lost friend, Rachel Pfotenhauer.  Further emails were exchanged and, after my wonderful sale weekend, I decided to splurge and see if she would do a reading for me.  Not being particularly patient, I thought it would be helpful to do the reading before heading to the gem show.  It all fell together perfectly ... yesterday afternoon we did one of her full readings.  I've had my horoscope done with a private reading and I've had two other psychic readings, one in person, one distant - I wrote my questions, she sent me a tape of the reading.  Rachel's currently in Kauai, so our reading was over the phone.  Basically, I was blown away.  This was hands down the most thorough and coherent reading I could have hoped for.  Throw in reconnecting with a dear friend and it was about as wonderful as could be.

A big part of the reading was about my current work - All One Talismans.  The message was clear, brace myself and get ready, these are going to be big.  I asked if there was any advice on things to look for as I wondered through the gem show ... the answer - black something, maybe obsidian and something that looks like tiger's eye.  Basically, just listen to my intuition and I won't go wrong ... and stock up!

So stock up I did!  Here's my superb haul ...

I found some amazing things.  The 'tiger eye' stones I found are way more interesting than plain old tiger eye, they're fire etched agate ... I got a bunch!

The black ended up being black tourmaline nuggets along with some very dark kyanite and some African coconut discs.

I got a bunch of really excellent aquas ... some very cool Chinese turquoise (I just love those thin squares), apatite nuggets and a variety of aquamarine shards and nuggets.

Then there's the greens ... vesuvianite shards and more Chinese turquoise.

I got more nuggets in browns and some rich russets and red ... from right to left - African amber, scapolite, garnet, hessionite garnet and sunstone.

Then there's this very cool find ... apatite nuggets that I'm going to top drill - they're in the 1 to 1 1/2" long range.  I bought six ...

But hands down, the coolest thing I found was agatized bamboo.  I've never heard of such a thing.  But they are amazing ... and hollow!    They make a wonderful sound when they clink against each other.  I just need to clean out the cores.  I bought eight ...

Normally, the gem show is one of my big social events of the year.  Today, I wasn't so much anti-social as supremely focused ... a focus that paid off in spades. 

The mystery component of the Talismans arrived in the mail today ... experiments will ensue, the big reveal to come ... not sure when.  But stay tuned, 'cause like the song says, "I'm just so excited!"

l i g a - kvk

22 July 2012

random thoughts

........ regarding All One Talismans
There is a tale to be told, a story to be woven.
There are questions to ask and answers to be rooted out.
Dreams will be made solid and visions will be transcribed into three dimensions.
Feeling an enormous sense of possibility.

....... regarding rooting out dormant parts of my psyche
I've been wanting a tattoo inside my left forearm for at least six or seven years.  All I knew was that I wanted a string of dots in there somewhere, no idea what else.  I think I'm finally closing in on a design.  A while back I shared a vision I have of myself, standing squarely on a mountain peak, a warrior or maybe a wizard's staff held firmly in my hand, looking out across a great expanse, an aura of calm and great power radiates around me ...

In my copy of A Wizard of Earthsea, there's a little glyph at the beginning of one of the chapters.  It's always intrigued me and I've drawn my own versions on bookmarks and in my journals.  Re-reading this slim volume, that glyph hit me again.  I'm thinking it can represent my own staff of power, the dots are the connection to the earth.  Here's my current design and a test drive in henna.

My clumsy henna work is much wider than my intended design, but at least I can get an idea of what it would be like having my forearm permanently adorned.  I'm thinking it needs something at the base of the dots - a grounding symbol to anchor myself and my power.    
........ regarding the urge to pick up needle and thread
I am compelled to stitch, yet I resist.  It feels like fear, but how could I be afraid of something so innocuous?  Why do I resist?  I want to stitch and assemble windfall bundles to dye fabric, roam and gather and follow nothing but my intuition, yet I resist.  I have work to do, I must focus, I must stay on task, I have to earn my keep.  My heart longs to connect with fabric and needle and thread ... yet I resist.  Definitely feels like fear.

I did pull out my sewing machine this past week.  I finally decided what I wanted to do with a beautiful piece of mushroom colored bottom weight linen ... a sort of dirndl skirt with shoulder straps.  I dove in without a pattern ... I can totally do this.  Cutting board on the floor, rulers and scissors and t-square and rotary cutter and measuring tape and straight pins strewn about.  After some figuring, the cutting began.  Still figuring it out in my head, ah - I have enough fabric to put in pockets.  I root out a pants pocket pattern, lay it on the piece of fabric and cut the pockets, then the waistband ... then I realize I've cut the pockets and waistband from the main piece of skirt fabric ... the 'extra' fabric is to my left.  "Darn, I wish I hadn't done that."  I'm thinking ... Skirts shouldn't have seems down the front ... Tim Gunn comes to mind, "make it work."  I soldier on, get very close to what seems like a finished product, hold it up to me ... "yes, that will work."  Try it on ... no.  It's bloody huge!  Orlando is wearing my project right now while it rests and I figure out how to "make it work."

There's definitely new moon energy moving through me, nesting and nurturing and creating.  Thinking that's fueling the sewing urge.  Nurturing is taking shape in the form of putting up tomatoes ... 20 pounds of deliciously ripe jumbo tomatoes waiting to be roasted from Mountain Harvest Organic Farm via our N. Asheville farmer's market.  Greens in the sink ready for juicing.

The final batch of roasted goodness ... core, drizzle with olive oil, season with Urban Accents Fisherman's Wharf spice blend.  Roast for 2 1/2 hours at 300 degrees.  Cool, slide skins off, give them a good stir, then ladle into quart size zip-locs and freeze.  OMG - they're incredibly sweet and delicious and, if I can keep my hands off of them, they'll be such a treat this winter.

So, the tomatoes are frozen, the dirndl is resting, I'm searching for an appropriate glyph to anchor my tattoo design, there's still a pair of work pants for Dave that need hemming (they've been hanging in my workroom for months), a design sheet for a sheet of rubber stamps has been sent off - a new, top secret project that I'm itching to reveal, but just not yet, I'm planning my strategy for the gem show later this week and the little vintage French lunch tin that holds my hand sewing things is waiting patiently on my worktable.

with heartfelt blessings and enormous gratitude to those of you making use of my Etsy anniversary discount (through today) .....
l i g a - kvk

20 July 2012


Amazing, Dave and I have been married for 32 years ... how can that be?  So you know the drill ... to spread the joy, I'm having a 32% off SALE over in my Etsy shop through the weekend.  Plug in the code, 32ANNIVERSARY, to snag your discount.  I'm thinking this will be my last sale for the year ... just something to keep in mind ... through Sunday, July 22nd.

I'm pretty sure I've posted this before, but still ... weren't we cute ???

with so much gratitude ...
l i g a - kvk

08 July 2012

who do I think I am ...

... to call my work Talismans?

... to imply that I am in any way tapped in or gifted?

... to imply that anything I create is anything more than mere ornament?  I have no special training, I have no credentials.  I'm not a healer or a shaman or a psychic. 

This is some of the monkey mind chatter that's been going on in my head as I transition from working on wholesale orders to focusing full time on my talismans.  And the thing is, I think they're valid questions.

But there are a few things that I do know about myself and since I'm asking, this is who I think I am ...

I am a maker.

I am motivated from a place deep in my core, a place that feels nameless, but that I know is the center of my heart and spirit.

I can't explain the origins of the impulse or inspiration for the talismans.  Not long after I started making this body of work in 2008, I had a dream that I made jewelry in a past life.  As I create this work, it really does feel like something remembered rather than learned.

When I'm designing the themes and then assembling the elements, I make every effort to keep my mind out of it.  When I select gemstones and components, I don't choose them for specific properties or attributes.  It's only after the piece is assembled that the message of the piece becomes clear.
An on-line friend makes extraordinary work that is talismanic.  She is trained in shamanic traditions and has the credentials.  This is what got my monkey mind going.  I started thinking that I should undertake my own training - but in what exactly I wasn't sure.  Then I got to thinking that what I've been doing since the very start of my jewelry making career and my very best work has come from following my intuition, my heart center ... listening to that voice from the nameless place.

It makes no sense.  I can't explain it.  I think that's best.

What I know and what I've experienced from day one of putting my talismans out into the world is a resonance and recognition and connection with like-hearted people.  The Talismans are a conversation and a creative collaboration between me as the maker and the person receiving the piece.  I can set an intention for a piece, but it is not complete until it connects with someone.  That connection is like the key in the lock, the yeast and the warm water.  The collaboration and connection is everything.  It completes the cycle and gives the piece its power.

Who do I think I am?  I am the catalyst and the medium in a beautiful exchange of love and heart-felt intentions.

l i g a - kvk 

p.s. a big THANK YOU to Clara for the collaboration insight ... a key piece of the puzzle.

07 July 2012

Please spread the word!

I rarely venture into politics here, but this is really making me crazy.  Please sign this petition if you are as horrified as I am and share with everyone.  It will be delivered on Tuesday, the 10th.  This is insanity.  

Navy to deafen 15,900 whales and dolphins and kill 1,800 more

By Lyndia Storey (Contact)
To be delivered to: U.S. Navy EIS Comments
Stop the killing of 1,800 whales and dolphins and the deafening of 15,900 more by ceasing the operation of the Navy's underwater sound system in the Hawaiian Islands, the California and Atlantic Coasts, and the Gulf of Mexico.
The Navy is required to include comments on their Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) re: the use of high frequency underwater sound for testing in Hawaii, the California and Atlantic Coasts, and the Gulf of Mexico. According to their estimates it will deafen more than 15,900 whales and dolphins and kill 1,800 more over the next 5 years. Whales and dolphins depend on sound to navigate and live. Your signature and comment will have to be included in the EIS and could stop this Naval program, potentially saving the lives of these ocean creatures. The comments must be in by July 10, 2012.
NEW goal - We need 375,000 signatures
There are currently 359,797 signatures  
with deep gratitude and heartfelt blessings .......
l i g a - kvk

03 July 2012

pmc nostalgia

I'm waiting on a bunch of work in the tumblers ... so I've been paying bills and balancing the checkbook, cutting up mangoes to freeze for sorbet with my new juicer - can't wait for that!  Walking back into my workroom, I noticed an old inspiration board peeking out from behind my mondo shelving unit.  Pulling it out, I discovered a photo that I'd recently been looking for and thought had gone missing ... well, actually it had.  I was trying to remember when I did my PMC Guild certification.  I was thinking if I could find this photo, it might have a date on it.  Turns out it did ...

... August 2000 ... those were some serious bangs I was sportin'

My certification class was pretty amazing.  It was with Tim McCreight at Arrowmont and lasted a full 5 days rather than the normal 3.  It was a memorable week for sure.

My official certification certificate - wondering if they still do this ...

Those were the early days.  I started working with original PMC in January 1998.  I remember because I'd actually bought my first 5oz package of PMC a couple of months earlier (it came in one big chunk ... I still have the hard plastic case it came in) and was afraid to open it.  I got my little bitty kiln with a manual controller and digital pyrometer in January and finally worked up my nerve to open it up and give it a try.  

The only programmable kilns available back then were about $1200.  The one I bought was about $250 and had a manual dial.  I would turn it on full blast and watch carefully for when it hit temperature.  Then I'd have to step down the control until it would hold steady at 1650 for the required 2 hours.  I still had to keep an eye on the temperature via a thermocouple that I'd insert through the peephole of the kiln.  I only melted a couple of batches and, gotta say, the melted pmc looked pretty cool ... it would sort of ball up like frozen mercury.  It was a big day when I finally found an affordable ($500) small programmable kiln from a ceramic's supplier.  

So coming across this photo also got me to wondering when the PMC Guild had begun.  Back in those days I was also a gung ho team player type.  As soon as news of the newly forming Guild arrived, I joined straight away.  Turns out, that first year there weren't very many of us.  As I found out from Tim at that certification week, he felt bad that there was this Guild and nothing was going on with it.  So he had some t-shirts made and sent them out to the members ... all 15 of us.

I used to wear my shirt when I taught workshops, but it was starting to fade and I decided it was pretty special and put it away for safe keeping.

The other thing I found out was those original few members got a special designation, "founding members."  This news came via a letter from the then Guild Director, CeCe Wire.

I guess I was also thinking about all this since the last PMC Conference just took place.  I never went to any of them.  I've just never been a very good team player.  Well, I tried at first.  I was a pretty regular contributor to the Guild newsletter and had work in 3 or 4 of the early exhibitions and I did get a piece in one of the later Guild Annuals.  But that was all done from the comfort and seclusion of home sweet home and didn't require any people skills.

I'm not really going anywhere with all of this ... it's just a bit of waxing while the tumblers are going.  Maybe to close I'll share a couple of my early 'show pieces.'  Thinking you may have seen these, but I'm still quite fond of them.  They're all tucked away in a treasure box.  Maybe I should air them out ...

PMC+ cuff

And this is all in original PMC with 24k gold - Scabbard Pendant

All those holes down the front had diamonds embedded ... they burned up ... $150 worth of raw diamonds.  About a month after I burned up all those diamonds, the Guild newsletter had an article about how not to use diamonds.  Turns out they're carbon and they start to burn around 1250 and then keep on burning ... who knew?  Here's the 24k hand inside the hinged pendant ...

Okay, time to check on the tumblers.  Hope you enjoyed my little stroll down memory lane!

l i g a - kvk