30 January 2012

the new look

Okay, so instead of working, I decided to try taking a self portrait ... not an easy thing for me.  Anyway, I figured since my new hair do was freshly washed and looking kind of sporty, I'd give it a shot.
... my new profile pic - whaddaya think?

now back to attempting productivity ....

l i g a - kvk


Looks like I got a bit too cavalier in my firing efforts .......

Not 100% loss, but pretty darn close.  I did manage to salvage some of the rubies.  This is what's left after a second firing with fine silver pmc inlays (the white stuff).  First thing to note, I had tumbled all these pieces before re-firing, but I didn't really check them to make sure they were fully sintered.  Funny how pieces can go through the tumbler for hours, come out looking just fine, but when you give them a good squoze ...... pfffftt - they break right in two or three or four. 

What I should have done was really check them before re-firing.  My successful test pieces were definitely fully sintered, these I just don't know.  Like I was saying, I got a bit cavalier.

The last few days weren't a total loss.  While the steel components were firing, I had an urge to make a chain link necklace.  Okay, so at one point I did get distracted and thought I had quenched a piece of 14gu silver, picked up the screaming hot piece with my right thumb and index finger (I'm right handed), dropped screaming hot piece onto the carpet, melting the bit where it landed, managed to pry it up with tweezers and chuck it into water where it was still hot enough to sizzle a bit.  Then, checking out my poor fingers ... looked like I'd branded the skin, ran under cold water for a bit then slathered the burns with lavender oil and popped a couple of ibuprofen.  I don't burn myself very often but, as burns go, these were pretty interesting ... no blisters, just a couple of fried indentations.  By the end of the evening and repeated lavender rubs, there was virtually no pain - only if hot water hit the burns.  That was on Saturday and today, I can feel but barely see the wire brands in my fingertips ... amazing. 

After all that, I do like the chain.  I call it the "intuition chain."  I had no plan making it.  I just kept cutting 14gu wire and putting it together until it felt done

Today, well, I don't know about today.  I've got a few more steel pieces ready to fire, the remaining ruby and pmc pieces are in the tumbler with the intuition chain and I have a handful of steel components that did sinter and are ready to go into the abrasive shot.  Needless to say, I'll be a bit more mindful about firing from here on out ... focus and not try to do three things at once. 

The last couple of days ... it's been a bit tiresome.  Sails full and feeling exuberant, sails flat and feeling thwarted.  Now comes Monday and I'm trying to find some motivation and direction.  Not sure what to do, what to work on.  My body is telling me to get off the computer and give my shoulders and wrists a break. 

I don't know ... rethinking, regrouping, reevaluating. 
Deep breaths ........

l i g a - kvk

p.s.  if you like gentle ambient, electronica blended with acoustic music ... check out General Fuzz.  He's got a slew of albums free for the downloading and only asks for a contribution.  Really great background for working.

29 January 2012

morning delights ... sunday radar sightings

A rather long and thoughtful day yesterday.

Today I woke to a brilliant and frosty morning, strong black tea, heavenly croissants from Tod's with just right scrambled eggs.  Then up to the workroom and, of course, checking email and FB and a bit of surfing.  So many delights have I found ... now I'm positively busting with inspiration, doing a quick sharing of these exceptional radar sightings and getting back to work on the new steel components.

I started here with this exquisite video of a Rodarte museum installation ....

Rodarte: States of Matter from MOCA on Vimeo.

Then,  Helen James took me to Trend Tablet ... this will be me squealing with delight ... pages and pages of enticing content.  Trend Tablet got me to Lorraine Pennington and her assorted galleries, blogs and on-line markets ... another large squeal.  Check out these ...  Modern Surfaces Art Gallery, one of her blogs, a modern life 2, and this looks really interesting, Project Artisan.

Oh and yesterday, I found a sumptuous new magazine, Glass - British and Chinese and lush.  And I keep meaning to say how gorgeous and exceptional the costumes were in The Secret of Moonacre.  Not an exceptional film, but visually stunning.

Jolly good fun ... off to polish some steel!

l i g a - kvk

28 January 2012

thrown for a loop

Okay, so I'm fairly addicted to this dern computer.  Most nights before going to bed and shutting everything down for the evening, I check email and FaceBook messages one more time ... you know, it's business ... in case something has sold on Etsy or a customer has written or whatever ... I'm addicted.

Last night when I logged on to check FB, there was a new accepted friend request.  The friend is someone I knew 35 years ago, someone I've thought about through the years and wondered where she was, what she was doing, did she stay married, have kids .........  Looking back to those wild and crazy days in the mid 70's, I realized she was my only 'normal' friend.  I've never had lots of friends and only a couple of close women friends at a time.  Back then, my 'friends' were the people I worked with and then went out with every night until all hours.  Vicki was different and for years I've regretted losing touch.

So, a while back I tracked her down and found out she was on FB and I sent a friend request with a short note.  Now, months later, she's accepted my request ... and what's really surprising is reading that last night threw me into a total tailspin.  It's brought up all that old nasty baggage and a whole world I thought I had put long behind me.  Of course I wasn't thinking baggage when I sent out the request, just a dear friend from long ago.  It took me hours to fall into a restless sleep.   I guess that 'thorn' wasn't fully extracted and healed after all.

Today is a day of processing and it feels like an old, long buried wound has been opened and given an opportunity to finally heal.  Amazing how much those memories still hurt, but just as amazing is the other FB message I had at the same time.  A jewelry artist in a group I've just joined wrote to tell me how appreciative and inspired she is by some links and advice I shared.  We had been convo-ing back and forth a bit and it warmed my heart to the core to hear that I might have helped another artist.

I love the point/counterpoint of those two messages.  Light being shown on the old me and the me of today.  Worlds apart, but never separate ... a unified whole. 

Onward .......

l i g a - kvk

26 January 2012

we'll see

For someone who's s'posed to be staying off the computer, I've sure been on this thing a lot.  Oh well, I just had to share what I've been working on.

If it works, it will be a river of rubies in steel .......

I'm hoping to fill in the series of holes with fine silver pmc.  I'm also planning to leave the steel just as it comes out of the kiln - kind of rusty, corroded looking, then spot polish the fine silver parts.  The pieces will be joined by sterling jump rings and then I'm not sure what else will be involved.  But right now, it's looking bloody cool! 

Like I was saying - we'll see ...........

l i g a - kvk

one more

Just as I was sitting back down and getting to work, UPS came with the leather I bought on Monday.  It's 20+ sq/ft, over 70" long and about 35" wide, dark chocolate brown, pretty heavy (5 1/2oz).
Can you say belts? 

okay, really shutting down this time.........
l i g a - kvk

minor diverson

So my intention was to stay off the computer today ... as you can see, I'm not doing so well.
Stopped for lunch, went outside to uncover my potted plants - it's 61 degrees for heaven's sake.  Under the protective plastic were my perennials and remaining annuals in various stages of growth and decay.  Seemed like a photo op to me .........

exquisite beauty in all phases of life ...  n'est-ce pas

shutting back down ....

l i g a - kvk

25 January 2012

morning inspiration

Good morning my lovelies!
My beloved friend, Marilyn sent me a link for an excerpt of a short film on Peter Donnelly.  I've been glued to YouTube watching all the variations.  This one's my favorite ... aside from a wee ache in my heart missing the sea and salt air, this makes me so very happy ....

Have a beautiful and inspired day!

l i g a - kvk

p.s.  thanks for your well wishes with my new treasure trove  - feeling loved and enormously blessed!
p.p.s. - still not feeling terribly photogenic, so pics of the new 'do' are yet to come - me likey, though.

24 January 2012

the motherload!

Yippee doodle!  It's Christmas here in my little studio ... I just got a 'pick box' from Barbara at Basha Beads ... the motherload - I'm tellin' ya.  Rather than her first run beads, I asked for odds and ends and miscellaneous things she might have laying around.  I am absolutely giddy with delight! 

See for youself .......

Everything from little bitty ones to some big honkin' focals.  Of course, there's no way I'll be keeping all these, but I'm pretty sure I'll be spending more than I first thought ... color me surprised!

a closer look .........

closer look view #2 .........

I've also got a 20 sq.ft. section of chocolate brown cowhide coming.  That should be here before week's end.  Planning on some belts and wrap bracelets and who knows what else.  Of course, this is all in preparation for our upcoming Hearts Aligned trunk show. 

Only problem, I've been feeling stretched a bit thin.  I think I've just about gotten all my pesky errands and chores out of the way.  I'm more than ready to get back to work ... hopefully tomorrow.  Nothing like a monster selection of Basha Beads to inspire a girl!

I'll keep you posted ........

l i g a - kvk

21 January 2012

19 January 2012

Hearts Alligned ...

 ... that's the name of our Valentine's trunk show.  It fits in lots of ways.  Three artists with very similar approaches to work and design and then the Valentine's message. 
Here's the approved postcard for the show .......

It took me a good part of yesterday to figure it all out, but I'm quite pleased with the result.  I love the title font, the "hearts" are heart rocks that I photographed, cropped and then hit the "I'm feeling lucky" button on Picasa, extracted from the background in Photoshop Elements, plugged into Publisher, made the background transparent and did some free rotations.  I'm sure there's easier, more direct ways to get to this effect by people that actually know what they're doing with graphics software, but I plug along with what I know.  That's the thing with being self-taught, I eventually get to where I want to go, just not in a straight line. 

I'll post more about the trunk show when it gets closer.  Right now, I'm being drawn to haul out my sewing machine, so I've chucked all my fabric yardage in for a quick wash (actual care instructions thrown to the wind) and I might bop down to the fancy fabric store and see what sort of patterns they have on hand.

Oh, and my hair turned out pretty close to great.  Not sure what it is with these stylists, but they seem to be obsessed with angle cuts.  It's less than it was and definitely more chopped and pretty darn short!  Not feeling very photogenic today, so self-portraits will have to wait.

ciao for now ......

l i g a - kvk

18 January 2012


I'm at it again ... another trunk show is in the works.

Once again with Cara, but this time we're joining forces with fellow jewelry designer, Stephanie Onel.  It'll be right before Valentine's Day, February 12.  It's all coming together in splendid synchronistic fashion ... I've been following Stephanie's jewelry since we've been in Asheville.  We've been Etsy and FB friends and I'd seen pictures of her but we'd never met in person.  The other day at the gem show, I saw this woman that looked familiar and then realized it was Stephanie. 

I went up and introduced myself - kind of strange meeting someone face to face when you've known about each other for a while.  Anyway, we got to talking and I was going on about trunk shows and she allowed as how she knows a couple of women who've recently opened Working Girls Studio & Gallery and they just mentioned they'd like to host some events, you know like trunk shows and maybe Valentines Day would be a good time to try one out.  So, me being me, I immediately said, "yeah buddy, we gots to get on that one" and of course volunteered Cara.  I'm incorrigible. 

Stephanie contacted the Gallery and the three of us have been working on all the specifics.  Then Dave and I were downtown on Monday and cruised over to Battery Park and and the gate to the studio/gallery was open and we went on up and got to meet Lynne Harty, a really excellent photographer.  Also got to meet her gallery partner, Eli Corbin, a painter (haven't perused her work yet).  So, mission accomplished there ... it's a great space and has a very nice vibe, we've got a date and time nailed down and may even get a bit of TV coverage via the gallery ... we'll see.

Like I was saying, it's all coming together. 

I'm the computer/graphics expert of this trio and I've spent the better part of today working on the show card.  Thing is, I didn't have anything sparkly or Valentine's inspired, so I started the day putting together a new piece ...

I got to use some of my new gemstones, the sanded quartz nugget and a tourmaline slice, with a lush Basha bead.  Thankfully, I had all the steel and bronze components on hand. 

The show card is out for a vote, so when I get the okay, I'll share it.  Right now, I'm going to stop and give my eyes a rest and maybe get and early start on dinner 'cause I've got a big night ahead.  The other crazy thing that happened on Monday - I got stopped on the street by a woman that works at a local chi-chi salon.  She was headhunting for volunteers.  I debated a bit, but decided, what the heck - a free haircut at one of the better salons in town!  I'm scheduled at 7:30 tonight to get an "edgy bob" haircut.  I'm going to shoot for something that resembles an "art project" - that's Cara's descriptive term and it's perfect.  I'll let you know about that as well.

Grand experiments happening all around!
ciao for now .......

l i g a - kvk 

16 January 2012

guest posting

I just did a guest post on Love My Art Jewelry, called "Passionate Exchange."  Writing to an audience that mostly doesn't know me from Adam.  An interesting and fun challenge ...check it out and let me know what you think and how I did.

l i g a - kvk

12 January 2012

renewed perspective

clearing     sorting     pondering     rethinking     renewing ... passion    
relinquishing ... control  >  gaining  +  renewing ... perspective

Most of my piles have been sorted.  Some of the repairs and some of the special orders have been completed.  Things are shifting.  We just handed in our cable TV box and have switched over to a streaming device - a brand new paradigm in the VK household.  A small thing, but I'm thinking any change is important when stirring up the energy of our home and routines.

simplifying     paring down     ordering     prioritizing 

Funny that after a short rant on FB about the monetizing of every little thing, I succumbed to temptation and took Danielle up on her "pay what you can" Spark Kit offer.  It's, well, it's vast and voluminous and loaded and we'll see if I get through it.  I was an early FireStarter client (April '09) and have felt like a super underachiever ever since ... on WhiteHotTruth - so many success stories, so many opportunities to compare myself and come up short.  So I'm not sure why I decided to plunk down a small chunk of my small winter budget for something, the likes of which, I was just complaining about the day before ... curious ... curious indeed.

But I gotta say, Danielle asks really good questions.  She's in your face, not shy, brassy as all get out, smart as a whip, tapped in and on trend.  I am all about being direct and authentic and she is all that.  As for my new Spark Kit, I'll keep you posted.

And then there's the stirrings of creative urges.  Spurred on by my few, but very lovely purchases from the gem show.  There's very little that piques my interest at these shows, but I did come home with a couple of sweet finds ...

faceted nuggets of moss aquamarine, iolite and hammer faceted sanded amethyst

delicious little slices of watermelon tourmaline, opaque and translucent ...

and these sanded faceted crystal quartz nuggets are going to look amazing with the steel metal clay ...

There's lots going on right now ... 
paradigm shifts     world altering     passionate exchanges     perspective renewing

And seeing this helps ...............
The Great Bell Chant (The End of Suffering) from R Smittenaar on Vimeo.

onward .......

l i g a - kvk

11 January 2012

cruising the edge

I think about this often ... cruising the edge, my edge, my own avant garde.  I really don't want this to sound elitist, but through the years I've noticed a trend in my work ... I tend to be a couple of years ahead of the rest of the pack.  I've actually found it kind of annoying, not too many people 'get' what I'm doing.  I end up feeling like I'm temporarily visiting from Mars.

What got me to thinking about it this time is I started in on sorting through my piles of piles.  Resting in one particularly dusty folder I found this sweet little remnant from my PMC team player past - the rejection letter from Lark for a book proposal about all kinds of ways to use metal clay in mixed media projects ...

Considering how many metal clay books are out there these days, this really gives me a good chuckle.  Oh well, wasn't meant to be.

But what is starting to happen and what I'm really enjoying in the last few months ... my Urban Primitive series is getting a very nice response.  People are buying the work, I'm getting lots of Etsy 'likes' and into some cool Treasuries and I'm meeting some like minded people on-line ... very encouraging ... very gratifying ... as a matter of fact, I'm feeling very blessed.  Maybe I'm not really from Mars after all.

Okay, heading back to my piles.

l i g a - kvk

06 January 2012

paralyzed by piles

It's been 2 or 3 weeks since I've actually sat at my worktable to work.  Over the last few months, I've been collecting inspirational articles, get your game on links, how-to books, personal improvement programs started and stalled, guided meditation MP3's downloaded and not yet heard, interesting and usually expensive magazines - that's an ongoing addiction - unread and lord knows what else.  I feel like I'm drowning in piles.  There's also the various piles on my worktable ... jewelry repairs - I'm a horrible slug when it comes to repairs, Dave's new britches that need to be hemmed - well to my credit I've done 3 of the 4 pairs, custom work that needs to be mailed, my new order of steel metal clay that hasn't been unwrapped.  And the problem is, I can't seem to settle down to do anything with any of it. 

Itchy, that's how I feel - well itchy and tired.  My intention has been to get up when Dave leaves for work at 7:15, brush my teeth, rinse my face, either do a bit of yoga or sit down for a morning meditation before making tea and turning on the computer and getting sucked into emails and blogs and facebook.  What I've been doing instead ... going back to sleep and not waking until 8 or 8:30, brushing teeth, washing face, making tea, getting breakfast and parking my backside in front of this bloody computer for at least a couple of hours before I come to and realize I should be doing something productive.  Then I've had to go out every day this week for some errand or something and once I'm out of the house, I can kiss studio productivity goodbye.  Like I said ... itchy.   

So what am I doing right now?  I've snapped a couple of pics of my piles and am sharing them here ... I'm hoping to stop this annoying cycle, start sorting through my piles and see what's there.

the worktable piles .........

the computer table piles .......

the piles of books and printed articles and magazines - front ...........

and side ...........

I'm wanting to learn more about leatherwork, so I've been checking out all the books at the library pile .....

and then I'm switching sales reps, so I've go my samples that need to be cleaned up and new trays ordered for a new presentation and catalogs printed and all of it boxed up to ship back out west .........

All that momentum from October and November ... pfffft ... gone.  Maybe it wouldn't feel so annoying if it wasn't the New Year and everyone's making lists and planning and strategizing and I'm just sitting here paralyzed by my piles on top of piles.  

I know this will pass.  The ideas and inspiration are still there.  It's winter and this is a natural cycle and I probably go through this every year.  The planets are probably lined up all weird or something or hormones are shifting or my body is just recovering from all the holiday overindulging or whatever ... cripe ... doesn't make it any easier to be wallowing around in it. 

Stalling out again ...
time to stop, change my focus and see if I can find some motivation for something ... anything.
deep breaths
to be continued ......

l i g a - kvk