I realized yesterday that it’s been six whole months since I left my last “real” job, after more than 25 years in administration and small business management. I had a lot of reasons for leaving that particular job, and even more reasons for leaving the traditional workforce altogether. But leaving behind a huge chunk of your life and diving into something new has the potential to be overwhelming. And lonely.
Early on, I fell into a couple of online groups of jewelry artists and fellow creatives from all over the world. I have to say that I was welcomed – wholeheartedly – in a way I rarely have been in the “real” world, and it has been my great pleasure and privilege to get to know some of these folks better. One of those groups is the new Artisan Whimsy community, which grew out of a Facebook group called Creative Bead Chat started by Melinda Orr (and a bunch of her friends). The AW group is only a month old, but it already has almost 800 members eager to learn and share all they know about various jewelry disciplines. (If jewelry is your thing and you aren’t part of that community yet, don’t wait! Check it out here!) My days have settled into a happy rhythm of online time sharing techniques, ideas, and troubleshooting tips with other jewelers, followed by time in the studio, evening with Nick, and late night visits with new friends around the world. I have learned more in the last six months about this craft, the community, and what it means to be a creative person in the new digital age and I am deeply grateful for the new friendships and connections that are part of my journey as a result.
I’m happy to be part of the Artisan Whimsy Metal Blog team, which is responsible for producing a metal-related blog post once a week – and can I just say that the Metal Team ROCKS! (We have blog posts scheduled into 2013. These folks are PASSIONATE. And talented.) Early on, the team decided to do a metal challenge and invite the whole AW community to play along – I think a lot of folks are intimidated by metal work, but Staci Smith wrote up an amazing (free) tutorial to go along with the challenge, and I was so tickled to see the number of folks who screwed up their courage and jumped in to give it a try. Some of them have never tried metal work before, so it was a big deal!! I’ve been fortunate enough to have a little preview of some of the pieces, and all I can say is: “Yum. Eye candy.”
Of course, the fact that there were prizes involved didn’t hurt, either.
As I’m writing this post, it is after 3:00 in the morning on the big reveal day, and my entry is still in the tumber upstairs. I seriously considered pulling an all-nighter but… well, NOT IN COLLEGE ANYMORE. (And also OVER FIFTY!) So instead, I’m posting this “in progress” shot so I can set a good “I participated come heck or high water” example for my fellow metal team enthusiasts, and will have to update later in the day when I get the piece completely finished and better photos taken. In the meantime, here’s a not-very-good photo of the piece partially tumbled – the stone is just set in so you can see it, but that will be the last thing done.
So while you’re waiting for my piece to finish tumbling, for me to catch a little shut-eye, and for me to take some good photos, check out the amazing work done by these terrific artists for this challenge. And check back later – I promise I’ll have better photos up soon. And check out the challenge page, where folks who don’t have blogs (or who didn’t sign up for the blog hop) have posted links to their prong items. Some amazing stuff there!
The Beading Yogini, http://www.thebeadingyogini.com
Caroline Dewison, Blue Berri Beads, http://blueberribeads.co.uk/
Pam Farren, http://www.re-maker.blogspot.com
Mary Harding, Mary Harding Jewelry, http://www.maryhardingjewelrybeadblog.blogspot.com
Dawn Horner, Northern Adornments, http://northernadornments.blogspot.com/
Gina Hockett, Freestyle Elements, http://freestyleelements.blogspot.com
Heidi Kingman, My Bead Therapy, http://mybeadtherapy.blogspot.com
Lisa Laffend, http://kokopelliegirl.blogspot.com/
Laura Medeiros. http://zoeowyn.blogspot.com
Alicia Marinache, All the Pretty Things, http://www.allprettythings.ca/
Melissa Muir, Melissa Muir Jewelry, http://design.kcjewelbox.com/
Melinda Orr, Melinda Orr Designs, http://orrtec.blogspot.com/
Julie Panusis, http://catsmeowco.blogspot.com
Mary Ellen Parker, http://beetreebyme.blogspot.com/
Staci Louise Smith, Staci Louise Originals, http://www.stacilouiseoriginals.com/
Sherri Stokey, Knot Just Macrame, http://www.KnotJustMacrame.com
Jo Tinley, Daisy Chain Designs Jewellery, http://www.daisychaindesignsjewellery.blogspot.com
Francesca Watson, Francesca Watson Designs, http://www.francescawatson.com
Jean Wells, http://www.jeanawells.blogspot.com
Linda Younkman, Lindy’s Designs, http://lindysdesigns.blogspot.com/