Thursday, November 30

Smithy Stretch Series - Number One

Over the past 8 years I have often equated this art experience of mine, this journey, with a hike in the woods.  It is a common theme in previous blog posts. I'm constantly trying to find my way; searching for light and truth. 

In the beginning it felt crowded, and I couldn’t seem to find the space I needed to grow and stretch. I couldn’t find the room to reach my full potential. At that time, I lacked the necessary tools and skills to clear the overgrown, suffocating shrubbery around me, and therefore I wasn’t capable of forging through on my own. 

To create breathing room, I would take a few steps down an already well worn path. There were a plethora to choose from. Each were beautiful and welcoming and well manicured. I would try each one on for size to see how it fit. 

While skipping down one path and then another was fun and easy; while it brought me some level of happiness and a bit of success, I felt uneasy about it. 
Unfulfilled.
 I wanted more for myself; I knew I could be more. 

So I had a choice, I could continue to walk down a path someone had already walked, a path another artist had already taken the time and energy to create for themselves, or I could dig deep within myself and find the courage and strength to trudge my own way through the overgrown brush. 

If I am honest with myself, I stayed on the well worn paths for too long. I lingered there hoping there was another, easier way. I stayed there out of cowardice mostly, I think. This is probably my biggest regret to date (I will leave it open ended because we all know I’m bound to do more stupid stuff in this lifetime). 

But this is the thing, you can never get to your ultimate place, you can never be your best self or reap the big rewards if you are walking a path someone else has already walked. THEY WILL ALWAYS BE AT LEAST ONE STEP IN FRONT OF YOU. You must, if you choose to go deeper, go your own way. 

It’s not easy. I don’t blame anyone, including myself, for staying where it’s comfortable. I certainly do not have any authority to judge where anyone else is at on their own journey, but I will tell you what I do know. 

I do know that despite the burn and the pain and the tears, 
despite the heartache and late nights and all the anxiety, 
despite the questioning and self doubt and all the self pity, 
despite the hard work and massive amounts of energy, effort and time, it has been all worth it for me. 

IT HAS BEEN, WITH OUT A SHADOW, OF A DOUBT WORTH IT FOR ME.  


It’s where I found my light and happiness. 
It’s where I found truth and my place. 

It’s where I earned the title “artist.” 


______

I have a few techniques I have honed over the years of trudging through the bush. When my creative muscles weren’t strong enough to push forward I’d need to stop and stretch for a minute. I'd need to pause and acquire the necessary tools and experience to continue on. 

One of the techniques I love the most is this playful, stream of consciousness work that removes so many barriers artists are often hindered by. It removes the “audience” factor, no longer worried about how a piece will be received. It puts you on a deadline that requires you to finish a piece, no matter what it is; good or bad. Ultimately, I think it promotes an environment where it is easier to create from instinct rather than over thinking it. Which is something I am always striving for. 

While I believe that 2017 brought me to an amazing place in my work, and I finally earned the title “artist,” I don’t believe this is the end of the path for me. I think there is plenty more to come. I think my journey has just begun, and I’ll be dammed if I worked this hard to get here and then just stopped moving. I want to be more, I know I am capable of more and so I will keep pushing.

To do so, I have come up with another fun side project. Once a month some fellow friend smithies and I (I need some others to keep me honest and on a deadline, and also I hope it helps them in their own work), will be producing some crazy pieces. They might be good, they might be really bad, but most of all, I’ll be working on moving forward. I’ll be stretching my creative muscle to it’s max in hopes that it can bring me deeper. 

The subject of this first piece was “vintage brooch.” I searched for weeks for the perfect one to use in my work.  I found ones that really felt like “me,” for example, cast acorns that could have been easily incorporated into my own style, but easy is not what I am here for. This particular vintage campaign button just called to me. The typography and color scheme had me swooning. 

While I am not completely in love with the final piece (I personally feel it to be a little basic for this particular project and think I could have stretched further) I also learned a lot. Mostly, LEATHER and STEEL PIN BACKS WHOA!!! But also, that I’m happy to have taken this on and committed to it.  I'm happy that I'm choosing to fit in this work despite deadlines and crazy schedules and bills to pay. I'm happy to be putting the art first, and I’m excited to see where it takes me and I hope you follow along. 



—-

“It’s Not Political, It’s Just a Brooch”  Brooch
2017
Smithy Stretch Series
Vintage Campaign Button
Leather
Sterling Silver
Steel

These pieces will be available to help cover the costs associated with the side project, but at a lower price than you will find most of my work because I want to ensure that it's more about the art than the business.

Available here until sold: https://www.etsy.com/listing/562470630/its-not-political-its-just-a-brooch?ref=shop_home_active_1

Thursday, October 19

I Had An Affair With a Man Named Turquoise

I posted today in my Instagram stories about how this was probably the last piece of turquoise I'll ever set. I might as well been put in front of a firing squad! You guys are SERIOUS about your turquoise! It's like I broke the news to ya'll that Santa Clause isn't real. 

I thought maybe if I explained a little, you might see there is more to life than turquoise..... or maybe not, but at least I made my point. Please know, this post is not to put down anyone who loves or uses turquoise in their work. It is a glorious stone; that color! This is to try and explain my complicated relationship with it. 

Let me start off by asking, "Have you ever loved something that was bad for you?" Come on ladies, there had to be at least one guy you dated that was so wrong for you. While it might have been fun for awhile, you knew deep down inside that you wouldn't marry him. 

That was turquoise for me. Turquoise was the easy way out. Often the success of designs would solely rest on the beauty of the stone or if I was finding myself challenged in a design, I could just add a piece of turquoise, and BAM it would complete it. #putapieceofturquoiseonit 

You might be thinking, so what's so wrong in that? 



The bottom line is, while the designs worked, they weren't me. I thought they were for awhile, and I loved the feeling of polishing and sending out successful designs. But over time, I found turquoise put me in a box that I had a hard time breaking free from. I used it more than I should have because it was easy. 

The day I heard my muse whispering that I should break up with turquoise, I first thought, "She is freaking insane,  have you seen his body?!" But more and more over the past year she's won me over. 

Recently, I felt like the pieces of work that contained turquoise I gave up on, I fell back into old habits, rather than working to push myself forward. Who doesn't take the elevator instead of the stairs once in awhile? For goodness sakes, we're human! 

While turquoise definitely helped me learn to walk, and it allowed me the ability to learn how to design, I feel pretty confident that I'm ready to fly.  Now that my wings have strengthened, the thing that helped me for so long, I find to be a hinderance. Turquoise is holding me back, and I know, deep down inside, as hard as it is, I have to break up with it. 

IT'S TIME FOR ME TO PUT THE CRUTCH DOWN AND SEE IF I CAN FLY. 

I know this post might make some of you go running, but I sincerely hope you'll stick around, cause maybe I'll fly or maybe I'll crash down face first in a pile of poo, and either would be equally fun to watch. Also, more sincerely, I promise to make super cool shit that you can absolutely wear with all that lovely turquoise you have. 

P.S. I completely hold the right to change my mind, tomorrow, 3 months from now, 10 years from now... cause girls, Turquoise is sexy! 

P.S.S. No, I'm not destashing my turquoise anytime soon! Hands off! 

Monday, May 23

You Are Not Your Mistakes // A Home Decor Series

Sometimes I can't stop thinking, thinking about all the mistakes I've made.
The things I've done or said that I shouldn't have.
The times I should have spoken up.
The times I should have taken the higher road or made a different decision.

Sometimes I feel like my mistakes have driven my life.
That they have defined who I am today and had the power to direct me.

This series is all about healing.
About letting go of mistakes and chalking them up to lessons.
About realizing I, you, we are human.
About reminding myself that those lessons I have learned are what propelled me forward and allowed me to make some incredibly wonderful and incredibly right decisions.

Each of these babies start from silver from previous mistakes.
Pieces that didn't work.
Solder and ideas that didn't flow.
Melted bezels and broken saw blades.

I've melted them all down to their elements.
Turned them into lessons, and used them to grow something new and beautiful.

I can't tell you how healing it is.
To be able to turn that torch up to screaming high and just let the heat burn away your mistakes.
Let it melt it down until it's no longer recognizable.
Until you've forgotten how painful it was when it happened.

---

Cast succulents.
Shed antlers.
Weathered cow vertebrae.

To adorn your home.
To remind you.




\







Carin

Saturday, March 26

Woman Up //


 And just when you feel yourself settle into comfort,
just as your muscles are able to relax, 
just as your soul feels settled.... 

Reach strongly for something beyond your fingertips.
Desire the challenge.
Seek it out.
Grab it confidently with both hands.

Don't drag it behind you or carry it haphazardly. 
No, pull the weight of that sucker square onto your shoulders.
Strive to make the new discomfort manageable and then eventually make it look effortless.




Because woman, you are the most beautiful when you bravely and vulnerably tumbling forward in pursuit of life. 
When you are answering the question, what am I capable of? 

I want to know the strength of this body... and this soul.
I want to know I can wo-man up to any challenge.
I want to feel uncomfortable in contentment, and twitchy when I'm still.
I want to see the vastness myself and therefore also my boundaries.

And most of all I want to break them.

---

Guys I've been pushing myself hard lately. Stretching and reaching for more in almost every aspect of my life. It's super exciting, but it also feels incredibly overwhelming.

I keep wondering if I'm capable to rise to the challenges I've laid out for myself.
I keep asking if I'm really capable of what I hope for.

And I keep trying to remind myself that this is who I am. That I am a strong capable woman, and I've rose to every challenge before this. That I've built this business up with just these 2 hands.
I keep trying to remember I've taught myself these skills before, and I'll keep trying to do it again and again and again.

No matter what.


Available here until sold.

  Carin

Tuesday, March 22

LURE - SMALL FRY

REPOST FROM ORIGINAL LURE BLOG:

I keep thinking about how luscious & tempting things in this life can be. 
Intriguing us with beautiful forms,
pungent perfumes,
bold, stunning colors. 

All things that promise rushes of dopamine through our blood stream.  That addictive, powerful flow which excites each and every one of our cells. 

It makes us feel alive.
It makes us feel happy.

Often when we speak of these types of things, we talk about how indulgent they are. Each of them carrying a sense of negativity with them. We hope we are strong enough to evade their pull, and somehow that ability would make us better human beings. 
__



It brings me back almost 20 years, neatly sorting seed beads into their own little compartments. I'd pick up a few, gently sliding my fingers back and forth across their glassy surface. Letting a few of them at a time all back into their designated spot. 

That's when the tug began for me, I got sight at what I consider my life long lure. A glimpse at what a dreamy, sexy life this career would be. 

But as with most things that bring us happiness, as a good strong human, I stopped myself from daydreaming too long or too hard.  I'd think about how much fun it was as a hobby, but never, ever would I allow myself to dream beyond that. 

Perhaps, I thought, too much daydreaming would somehow get in the way of "real" work. 

But oh how wrong I was.
How wrong we are.

My only regret is how long it took me to allow myself the freedom to explore. 
Explore my truth,
Explore my passion,
Explore my life. 



I regret so much, how long and how hard I struggled against the urge. 

Now, when I daydream, it's more frequently about the past than the future.

I remember my 18 year old self standing at the top of a set of stairs that led to an art department. 
A set of stairs I was too coward to walk down. 
An 18 year old too afraid to speak her truth and too fearful to take the leap. 

Now as I daydream, I find myself telling that youngster this,

"Now is always the time for happy." 

___

NOW IS ALWAYS THE TIME FOR HAPPY.
NOW IS ALWAYS THE  TIME FOR HAPPY.
NOW.

I challenge you this, why not indulge? 

______

These beasts are meant to be big and bold.
For those of us willing to take the bait.
Go against the norm.
Take the less worn path.
To you, I applaud.
I send my highest praises.

They are more than that though.
A side story if you will. 
Of a friendship that started while sorting those seed beads 2 decades ago. 
A person who, despite what she says, was by far one of the biggest artistic influences of my life. 



She gifted me a pair of articulated fish earrings over a decade ago.
They were my favorite.
I rarely took them out.
But then there was that one time I did, and sadly they were never to be seen again.

I've thought about those earrings for 10 years.
So I bring you my, bigger, bolder version all these years later.
I think appropriately, they are sized to represent my unwavering announcement that I will not follow the well worn path. 
I will embrace my indulging, dreamy, sexy career with all it's ups and downs.

I took the bait. 
will you? 
___



Available for purchase here for just 1 week. At which time I will close the listing and fulfill all orders at one time.

Carin