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. 
 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’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
Smithy Stretch Series
Vintage Campaign Button
Sterling Silver

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:


Cat said...

That pin back is Swoooony! I love this challenge, I'm glad you're calling yourself an artist, because you are an artist. much love!

andrea said...

will you all work under the same theme each month?

Carin Jones said...

Thanks Cat, I've had a complicated relationship with that word for a L O N G time!

Carin Jones said...


It's a different theme each month. Next month is "coins"! I think I might try and stick to brooches unless something calls incredibly to be something else. Mostly cause I love brooches and I never get to make them!

andrea said...

cool, I love brooches too and a monthly challenge!

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