Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 in Review.


The end of 2015 is the last time I posted a year end anything, not looking back, but looking forward with excitement.  The following 3 years I got myself in a rut, I would start a year in review post but I didn't and couldn't get myself to feel positive enough to post anything. In the past New Year's had been a favorite holiday of mine but I couldn't see that I had accomplished anything nor was I hopeful for the future.  I was overwhelmed all of the time and it was consuming every aspect of my life.  Any sort of move and big life change can throw someone off balance, I was frustrated and talked a lot about finding my balance again, but I wasn't actually putting in the work to do so.


THIS year has been so amazing and so positive that I don't even know where to start.  Actually, I do, I'll start with the fact that I had hit my rock bottom at the end of 2018 which prompted me to decide to join AA.  Since then 2019 has been a year of personal growth for me, mostly emotionally and mentally.  I'm no longer beating myself up for there not being enough hours in the day to get everything I wanted to get done.  Hell, I just realized a few hours ago that tomorrow is New Year's Eve and we haven't gotten around to making reservations anywhere (opps).  I can't believe a year has already gone by!  I'm getting what I can done, but not working myself to the point of being sick all the time and not sleeping.  I sleep great now knowing that I did what I could with the time that I was provided each day.  Bryan has been the best, most patient boyfriend ever as I have been working through my issues. He's there for me when I need him and he busies himself with other things when I need my space.  He didn't complain once while the River Terrace Commission took over our dining room with fabric and needles spilling to all other corners and rooms of the house.  I was able to pull a nearly all-nighter to get Hope Flows finished in time to hang in River Terrace Church for its unveiling at their Easter Services.  My dad joined me at the later morning service and I pretty much cried the whole time I was so moved.  Easter has an entirely new meaning for me.  I've gotten super duper sappy this year, my happiness and general excitement of what each day holds has returned.  I'm not sure I've felt quite this way since my 20s.  I'm feeling like I felt in early college and when I lived in Colorado. 

I love lists, so here's my 2019 successes:

1) Finishing and hanging Hope Flows at River Terrace Church (3 12-foot long panels)



2) Having one of my proposals to talk at Convergence Conference 2020, Knoxville accepted.

3) Hanging a small show of my older work (college and Colorado/Wisconsin era) at the Haslett Library for 3 months.  This actually helped me re-hang (properly) old weavings and get photos to prepare for the talk I'm giving at the Handweaver's Guild of America Conference.

(prepping the show layout on my floor at home)

4) Working on our privacy fence of recycled doors!  I can see them from where I sit in my office right now, the bright colors lined up to create a privacy fence gives me so much joy.  Thank you to all who have donated doors to me and to the gentleman at Home Depot's paint department for suggesting that I use their "opps" paints for this project.


5) Saying no to shows I don't want to do or have the time to do.  I was much more relaxed this holiday season considering I work retail and I don't like trying to make a bunch of plans.  I still had a constant flow of holiday sales where I simply had people tell me when they wanted something and we'd meet for coffee and do the sale.  I've gotten to know my customers on a one on one basis which really means a lot more to me and I like to know where my work is headed off to live.  The other thing that falls under saying no to things I don't want to make is that I am constantly reminding myself that I have a day job to pay for my day to day living so that I don't have to take art-based work that I don't want to do.  It's so draining to have to work on something for money when you'd rather be weaving away in the studio on passion projects.

(passion projects include Halloween costumes, our favorite holiday!)

6) Getting 3 rooms in our house painted!  And once the downstairs bathroom was done, I got the giant dresser mirror up on the wall I had bought to replace the ugly mirrors that had come with the house.  Having house projects feel finished is just a great feeling.

(bedroom deep dark green)

(downstairs bathroom purple/grey)

7) Enjoying going to work again.  I used to think about what I had to get done at work when I was at home and when I was at work thinking about what I had to do at home.  The longing to always be working at the wrong spot was a mental waste!  I'm so much more focused and joyous, even my regular customers at my day job have noticed.  I really appreciate that Talbots encourages the development of personal connections with customers, I have so many lovely ladies that come in sometimes just to visit with me and give me a hug. Retail has its difficult days (especially this time of year), but most of my days are wonderful. 

8) Not drinking, not once, in all of 2019.  When you've been drinking almost every day for years it's hard to imagine not drinking at all.  Now I can't imagine ever picking up again.  It's hard getting caught up in addiction, really hard dealing with your emotions and it gets easier the longer you go.  I never ever want to go back there. I couldn't do it by myself and I'm glad I walked into my first AA meeting and someone there suggested other good meetings for me to go to.  There are some really amazing people helping me hold it together that I have met going to regular meetings and thankfully there's lots of options in the Lansing area!

9) Also thanks to AA, is my knitting.  I need something to keep my hands busy so I can pay attention  at meetings so for the first time in my life I have started learning to knit socks.  I have knit 6 pairs of socks and I've started my 7th. I've also knocked out a few hats and infinity scarves.  I've been knitting since the third grade but I'm feeling faster and more prolific after this year.


(when I knit at home it involves cats)

10) Speaking of prolific, the jewelry I have decided to make is exhibit-able.  A few really large bangles that take a lot longer to graph, plan and choose colors came about.  Klingon Light (structure play and experimentation), The Classic Cuff (first official bangle with 15/0, teeny tiny delicas), Aziraphale x Crowley (angel wings inspired by our halloween costumes) and Cat's Meow.

11) Finding balance. I don't usually say that I'm balanced, I've got a lot of projects going all the time.  But I was chatting with a woman at breakfast after an AA meeting and she said "wow! you've really got a lot of things going and you sound so balanced!"  I hadn't thought of myself as having obtained the balance that I longed for, but she made me think that yeah, I really have hit where I'm supposed to be and the direction my life needs to be going. With my artwork, my day job and my relationship.  I can't believe I got all of that balanced within a year, but as they say, taking it one day at a time works.

12) 2020!  I have a lecture and workshop lined up with the Kalamazoo Weaver's Guild.  I'm giving a talk at Convergence in Knoxville and am looking forward to really catching up with my friend and roommate on the drive and over the week.  I finally have started in on weaving another large double-weave pick up piece.  I have woven 3 small versions of "Leaf Me Alone" and I'm ready to bite off getting the big version of Leaf Me Alone done.  I have also begun to draft the cartoon for my next large weaving and I need to pick my colors to dye for it.  I'll still make some jewelry and I'm always playing with beads, but for me to be satisfied with my artwork that needs to be less important.  I'm showing at less galleries so I don't stress myself out trying to make new stuff to sell.   I'm sure there's more coming in 2020, but it's not on the top of my mind at the moment.  


Happy New Year to all and happy creating! 


Friday, December 13, 2019

Triple Pod Earrings and Open Leaf Snap Bracelet



The triple pod earrings are some of my favorites right now, I decided they would fit well with my holiday dress this year.  I was just going to do a black and white combo of the pods, but then I was looking closer at my dress and I realized that the white lace portion had black outlines in it.  So I chose to make the pods all white and silver with black edging. 



White based earrings pop against my darkish brown hair, especially when I wear it down.  The silver sparkle looked really lovely at the bottoms of these earrings and gave some extra glitter. 


This bracelet was inspired by the white with black edging of the earrings, but I wanted it to be more simple.  This is the second bracelet I've ever made with this snap closure that helps make the bracelet look like it has no clasp at all.   This first type of this bracelet can be seen HERE.



I was on a roll, so I made these thin dangle earrings too.  I wore one of these in my second piercing on my one ear along side the triple pod earrings, you can see them worn together below.  I love the look of all the beads together.  Of course, it's what I do. :)


Jax dress lace detail.


Layered earring look.

Bryan and I at his office holiday party.  <3 p="">

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Cat's Meow Bangle


I had finished this set in October, but I haven't had the chance to properly photograph the Cat's Meow bangle and earrings until now.  This piece is the result of slipping down a Pinterest rabbit hole of cat illustrations. I had been wanting to do some sort of cat bangle that was large, but not too terribly involved as far as the design was concerned and I found a ton of ideas that fit the bill.  I was concerned about the tail part of this cat design looking strange when converted into the peyote graph paper, but now that I have worn this a bunch, I don't even remember feeling like it looked off. 


I am so pleased with this piece that I'm not sure I'll ever part with it.  I wear a lot of browns and the blue that I picked out goes with a lot.  I would venture to say this matches a large portion of my wardrobe and I really enjoy wearing this as a set.  


The earrings follow the same design as the bangle and I wanted them long-wise but an everyday wear length, so I made them half of the cat head on each side.  



I post the progress of much of my work on my social media.  At the above length a friend said that she wanted it.  So I made another shorter one for her.  I think that this bangle, if one wants it a little wider would work well at the below length also.  I love how versatile this pattern ended up being.  


There is an additional narrower cat-head-only bangle at the Lansing Art Gallery right now (November 2019) for their holiday Michigan Made show.  I'm not sure that I'll get another one done for the REACH Art Studio Not So Silent Night event that I'll have all of my current available jewelry at for sale.  That show, along with a silent auction, food, entertainment and other invited artists is coming up on December 14th, 2019, 7 - 9:30pm. You can check out the Facebook Event HERE.  

Diane's Gunmetal Mask, Dressy Masks

Diane's Gunmetal Mask , photo credit Bryan Johnson Mask making continues for me this year and this request was really fun to work on.  D...