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.

Rain, rain, go away!

I sort of can’t believe it’s Friday already. The weather has been cold (for us) and very rainy – torrential, some days. The combination of cold and wet is tough to be out and about in, but I confess that I’ve enjoyed the couple of times I’ve been able to curl up on the couch with a blanket and listen to the rain on the roof.

Over at Roadhouse this afternoon, our neighbors were thrilled when the clouds lifted long enough for them to come by on a hand-out run. Unfortunately, we weren’t prepared for their visit and they wandered off disappointed.

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This past weekend was three full days of soldering with a terrific group of students – there is very little that’s more fun for me than having someone look at their project at the end of the day and say, “Wow! Look what I did!!”

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We had dinner with friends this week to celebrate one’s remarriage, and I nearly flattened Daniel Baldwin with the restaurant door on my way out at the end of the evening (yes, Daniel Baldwin of the Baldwin Brothers). I didn’t realize it was him until he was walking away, but in the meantime I had spotted a huge, black SUV with a Malibu Films logo on the side and launched into my fake movie voice-over voice. “Malibu Fiiiillllmmmms. MAL-I-BU Filmmmmmmmmms.” Mortifying and bizarre. What was I thinking? No clue. Cross that off my bucket list.

So…. life is good, in spite of the rain. Big news coming about my on-the-road teaching next year. Seriously, so exciting that I’m kind of pinching myself – I should be able to put out an announcement next week with more information (though I promise to do it without the voice-over voice). And I’m working on new class offerings for Roadhouse – it feels really, really good to be creating and planning and experimenting. So here’s a question for you: what class would you want to take if you could take anything at all?

Ready?

Go!

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.

Planning Photo

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.

Inventory

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??

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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The AJE Component Reveal! (July 2014 Edition)

This poor blog. It has been left to languish while I have been racing around tending to house sale, business running, teaching, and proposal writing (more on that later). That’s going to change soon – I’ve embarked on a site redesign that will help me keep the content fresh and (hopefully) encourage me to post more photos in addition to writing more than one paltry post a month.

So, with the mea culpa’s out of the way, let me show you what this month’s Art Jewelry Elements component challenge was all about.

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Those glass cabochons were made by yours truly, and it was a little nerve-wracking. I make most of my own components, but not usually for other people to use – and let’s face it, the AJE contributors are among the most talented component creators out there. So…. yeah, a little intimidating.

I picked that pretty mossy green cab in the upper left, second row. And in a confluence of events, I killed several metaphorical birds with this particular stone.

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Metaphorical bird #1: I teach a two-day chain making class that includes a full day of “cold” chain (i.e., chain that isn’t made with a torch) and I had been looking for a resource I could recommend to students who wanted to move on to more advanced projects. I finally picked up Cindy Wimmer‘s book The Missing Link, which has been on my Amazon wish list for a while, and let me tell you… this book is amazing.  It is so beautifully written and photographed, and the links are so well explained – I started out making wire jewelry years ago and moved on to metals and enamels, but in the last couple of weeks, this book has reawakened my excitement about working with wire. Rather than use manufactured chain for this piece, I made one out of Loopty Loop links from the book, and I modified the link to create a clasp that blends nearly seamlessly into the chain.

Metaphorical birds #2 and #3: I have been trying to screw up my courage to apply to some of the bigger venues for teaching opportunities, but I’ve always talked myself out of it. The truth is that I’ve been doing more and more teaching outside of my comfort zone (including a continuing education class for art teachers in the local school district – yikes!) and have become increasingly confident in my ability to work with larger groups and troubleshoot on the fly. So when my Roadhouse Arts partner Gail suggested I apply to teach at next year’s Glass Craft Expo, I took the plunge – so in addition to being my Component of the Month offering, this necklace served as a sample for the prong setting class I proposed to them.

WE INTERRUPT THIS COMPONENT OF THE MONTH REVEAL FOR AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT:

Glass Craft Expo took all four workshops I proposed. 

This means that next April, I will be teaching in Las Vegas at one of the largest gatherings of glass artists, vendors and enthusiasts in the United States.

I am thrilled, excited, a little scared, and very, very pleased.

Registration for the classes opens in October, and I promise you will become thoroughly sick of me telling you all about it.

WE NOW RESUME THE COMPONENT OF THE MONTH REVEAL!

In spite of the fact that Bead Fest is right around the corner, several of my wonderful AJE partners found the time to participate in the COM this month, in addition to our terrific guest designers. Take a quick spin through the blog links below, and be sure to leave folks a comment letting them know you stopped in – we like it when we hear from you!

Guest Designers

Deb Fortin – www.studiok24.blogspot.ca

Toltec Jewels – www.JewelSchoolFriends.com

Carol Briody – cbriody.blogspot.com

The AJE Team

Caroline Dewison – blueberribeads.blogspot.co.uk

Susan Kennedy – www.suebeads.blogspot.com

Melissa Meman – melissameman.blogspot.com

Jenny Davies-Reazor – www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog 

Kristen Stevens – kristen-beadjourney.blogspot.com

Francesca Watson (yours truly!) – www.francescawatson.com