Where I’ll Be…

It’s March already and time is just whizzing by. Lots of updates and photos and information coming, but in the meantime, I’ve added a link up above to a page with my teaching information. I’d love to have you come to Roadhouse for a play date, but I’m also going to be on the road this year – maybe that’s closer? Check it out and let me know if I’ll be seeing you at an upcoming event.

Gail and I just spent a week in the Texas Hill Country with Melissa Muir and Connie Fox – Connie is the reason I became interested in metals in the first place, so I had a little bit of that star-struck thing going on. Thankfully, she is just the nicest and most down-to-earth person and we had a really good time together. The retreat attendees were amazing – I even got to meet some of my online friends! But the best part was finding a voice and vision inside myself that I didn’t know existed – and I have a whole new excitement and inspiration waiting for me at the studio!

Francesca Watson

My retreat project – roll printed scrap silver decorated with 24k gold, 18k gold, a tube-set peridot, and liver of sulfur.

Getting it together…

Earlier this week, I wrote a post over at Art Jewelry Elements about my reflections on 2014 and some things I want to do differently in 2015. I suppose I could sum it all up with one word: planning.

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This month is a time of recalibrating for me – I am so very pleased with so many of the things I accomplished last year, not least of which was the successful launch of Roadhouse Arts. That said, there are things I want to do better and things I want to be able to focus on and at the top of that list: more time making things and developing my “voice.” Towards that end, I temporarily pulled all my things out of the Roadhouse gallery so I can evaluate each piece of work and decide if it really represents my current skill level and aesthetic.

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It was a scary step but an oh-so-necessary one. A little judicious editing is necessary from time to time, so that I am putting my best creative foot forward the majority of the time. Along those lines, it’s way past time for an overhaul of this site – it’s nearly three years old and I’ve neglected it badly. In the works: new photo galleries of past and current work and an online shop, in addition to a new logo and blog layout.

And now my sweet Nick is retired, so the overall shape and pace of our days is dramatically different. The truth is that I love nothing more than hanging out in our new little house with my hubby, chatting, sipping coffee, reading, watching the news. The draw of being home with him is tough to work against, and it’s much harder to maintain the discipline of a schedule when the only one enforcing it is you!

So…. yes. Busy. But “good” busy, and grateful for a renewed sense of focus and purpose. Happy 2015! What does your year hold in store??

AJE Component of the Month – November edition!

I am late getting this post up today, mostly because I fussed and fussed over the components throughout the last week and only just got the design to where I wanted it last night. By then I had lost the light to take good photos and between church obligations this morning and getting run off the road on my way thereto (I’m fine and the car’s fine, thank God), this literally was the soonest possible opportunity.

So, with apologies to Kristen Stevens, this month’s component hostess, here is my offering:

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One of the things I love about doing these monthly challenges is that it encourages us to work with components and materials that we wouldn’t otherwise work with on a regular basis. Kristen sent us these very beautiful beaded circles, which I have long admired but which I probably wouldn’t have ever picked for myself. Although I occasionally do some beading, I’m really all about metal and rocks, and the beading I do doesn’t play well with metal (yet).

Even so, these proved to be more of a challenge for me to work with than I was expecting. My initial design was a necklace, where I planned to use these as connectors, and while I liked the idea in theory, the whole thing wound up looking really forced so I scrapped it. (Because I like the theory, though, I’m probably going to go back and revisit the concept in some way….) Then I came up with the idea of nested silver rings as the starting point for earrings, so I fused some Argentium links together – it took me a couple of tries before I got them the size and shape I wanted.

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And this is the point where I really stalled out – I just could not come up with a connector between the two components that looked right. I tried everything: fabric, leather, wire, cord. It all looked…. not right. Not bad, just not right. Kristen’s beaded circles are very lightweight, but both components have a significant visual weight and everything I tried looked too “poofty” with them or too overbearing. (“Poofty” is a technical term.)

I was closed to scrapping the whole design and starting over when I decided to take a break and clean off my bench to clear my head. Lo and behold, I uncovered a long piece of 12 gauge half-round sterling under the pile of crap works in progress mess, and one end was bent into a half circle. I made oval jump rings out of it, and then textured the curved surface by just pressing my round-nose pliers into at random intervals. They feel clean and simple, but have enough visual weight to hold their own against the other components without overwhelming them.

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I rarely sell my Component of the Month pieces, because they seem like documents to me – documents of a new place in my creative journey, a mile-marker of sorts, that defines a point in time. I love these earrings, not just because they include something made by my friend Kristen, but also because they represent a creative struggle that was overcome. I’ll be wearing them a lot.

To see what everyone else came up with, head on over to the Art Jewelry Elements blog and check out all the links. And don’t forget to leave a little comment love as you hop through the designs!

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

I have just gotten back from a wonderful week in Salt Lake City with the amazing Melissa Muir.

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In addition to some badly needed play time, I took photos of several projects for her new book. We had a blast and I got to have a road trip, which is one of my favorite things.

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I’m safely home again and spent all day yesterday teaching a class with two of my favorite students – so much fun. I put together a tutorial about one of our projects over on the Art Jewelry Elements blog today – check it out.

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And today is the birthday of my sweet husband, Nick. I can hardly talk about him these days without becoming emotional with gratitude for him. Funny, generous, wise, loving, selfless – there really aren’t words to capture the man that he is. His retirement is coming up fast, and honestly? We can’t wait. On this birthday, the greatest gift I can think of to give him (besides the studio we’re building him after the first of the year!) are my passionate prayers for years and years and years of rest, creativity, and renewed purpose. He’s been painting up a storm, and I am so excited to see what this next season brings him. Happy birthday, babe – I love you and I thank God for you every single day.

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October AJE Component of the Month!

It’s time again for the always-fun Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month challenge! This month’s hostess is Karen Totten of Starry Road Studio, and I am completely smitten with the Spiral Fossil Discs she gave us to work with.

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They are so rustic and fun! As usual, I asked to be surprised and when I opened the package, I knew right away what I wanted to do with mine.

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I’m really happy with how the weaving turned out, but not so happy with how it hangs on the chain. I like the concept but the execution is lacking something – I need to play with it some more and maybe make up a custom chain or try it on some leather cording. When I get back from Salt Lake, I’ll lay out some options and see if I can come up with something I like better.

Want to see what everyone else did with their discs? Here are the links – enjoy!

Monthly Winners

 

AJE Blog Team
Francesca Watson <— YOU ARE HERE