I'd spend some time trying to explain where I've been (mentally), or what I've been up to (physically), but if you've been on pinterest at all then you already know.
It started with the garage-to-studio remodel. The walls are all sheetrocked and painted. The ceiling mostly done. But, by the time I got to that point it was too cold for me to ask people to come and take some classes with me and my propane space heater. So, that bit will have to wait until spring. Just as well. Mentally I've been desperate to better define myself as an artist. Teaching out of stores, as I've done for the last six-and-a-half years, it was up to me to teach how to use what was in the store. Now that I'm taking the time to create my own studio, I feel like (1) I need a little more street cred to pull this off and so I need to start creating some more work, spend some time being productive, making a new masterpiece or two and (2) I really need to contemplate what it is that I want to teach. Right now I don't have a roadmap for my students (except for one young braniac, you know who you are, my padawan) and I feel like I need to be really excited about where I want my students to go ... at least in a more specific way than that it involves more than one kind of torch. Right now I feel like my body of work has been stagnant for too long for me to be excited about any of it.
More and more my ADD whispers to me (in an incessant, unignorable, Pee Wee Herman "I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I" kind of way) that I need to broaden my horizons; that I'll get bored if I try to focus on one thing, like sensible people who want to master something would do. In the recesses of my mind I understand that if I don't make things interesting for myself and explore beyond my current horizons I'm more likely to wake up in a rage of hating everything, making mastery of anything a moot point.
I've been working hard at getting my beadwork more advanced, my detailed/3D wirewrapping more advanced, my lampworking more advanced, along with experiments with leather, polymer clay, adhesives (though I've eschewed vehmently them in the past), found objects ... all while trying to envision how to bring them together in my own way. Of course, pedagogically, I know that won't happen until I can do all of the above without thinking. And, so I progress through the pedantic, reading tutorials and scanning pinterest to figure out the range of these crafts, what techniques I didn't know about, how to execute them, how to manipulate them, and who I can learn from.
So, enter Pinterest. My muse. Oh, how you know the soul of the artist, you siren. Did you know that the former Eastern Bloc is the nexus of the wireworking world?
(Iza Malczyk, Poland)
Oh, we have some gifted artists here in the US (e.g. Sarah Thompson and Nicole Hanna), but O.M.G. It's comparable to Germany for lampworkers. Maybe it's the culture that artists in those particular fields in those particular places are somehow incapable of accepting and posting work that is anything less than groundbreaking perfection. Maybe it's that there are some truly gifted and prolific teachers in those places. Perhaps both. But the phenomena doesn't seem to be isolated. Do you know how many Hungarian sites Google has had to translate for me when I've been researching talented beadweavers? More than any other language, let me tell you. Apparently people went to impressive lengths to do more with less behind the Iron Curtain. I'm on the verge of a serious complex. There's SO much to learn about so many things that I feel Socratic when I say that what I'm really learning is how little I know.
Oh, don't you worry. The practical side of me will keep plugging away. I don't let Zeno's Paradox keep me from making progress. What I can say is that, while I've been silent, it's been because I've been truly busy on many fronts and I'm on the threshold of some really new work. I'm excited. For now, I have been trying to put things in my Etsy store, so check in there from time to time. And for anyone that was hoping for fall classes - I apologize, but come the spring I'll have some really exciting things waiting!