Thursday, December 27

The Gap In Depth - Part One

Last week I shared a video on my Instagram: a two minute clip that changed my views significantly when I saw it the first time a few years ago; footage I have needed to return to repeatedly when the work gets tough and my confidence is low; a bit from Ira Glass titled The Gap. If you haven't seen it; or it's been awhile since you last viewed it, please see it here before continuing reading on. 

While this piece is incredibly moving in itself, and resonates with so many artists across all mediums, what I want to talk about is what happens in the gap. It's something I have wanted to speak on for years, but perhaps only in feeling like I've successfully navigated my own way through, or at least partially through the gap, do I feel like I have any authority in writing this.


Finding my voice, or working through the gap, which may be better terminology for this post, was absolutely one of the most challenging things for me.  I spent years agonizing, in what could only be described as pain. Frustrated, and like Ira says, disappointed, that that the work I was making wasn't up to my potential.  I could see I was more than what I was producing, but I didn't know how the hell to get there.

The dirty, transparent, honesty of it all was that I would look at other artists and feel a deep sense of jealousy. I would watch them create masterful work with what, from an outsiders perspective, seemed like ease. I couldn't possibly imagine them pacing their hallways, kicking things, pulling their hair out, or laying awake at night trying to figure it all out and piece it all together, as I had done so many times before.

And it all made me doubt myself.

It can bring you to a deep, deep,  dark place. I'm convinced this is where the term "tortured artist" is born. Falling short of meeting your ambitions over and over again will wreak havoc on a human mindset.

The jealousy and doubt made me do stupid things. It made me lust after what other artists had; after their success. It make me question my own taste and my own voice. It made it take longer to get through the gap than I would have if I had any sort of grace and confidence in myself as an artist at the time.

It took awhile, but I realized soon enough, that the jealousy wasn't "that's so cool, I wish I had thought of making that," but rather, "that person is an amazing artist, I hope one day to have the confidence in my voice to create as freely as she does." While the line between these can be easily blurred, the difference between them, for me, is paramount. The jealousy I was feeling didn't lie in the physical item they had created, but in their ability to create beautiful, authentic, genuine work. And I wanted more than anything to be able to do that.

If you are feeling connected to my words, if what I am saying sounds familiar, please know that in my understanding, everyone goes through it.  I believe in my heart of hearts that you can make it just as I have, just as others have, you just have to keep going.

Lastly, as I reach the edge of the gap, as I narrow down my voice, I'm challenging myself to find forgiveness. To allow myself the grace and understanding of previous stupid choices and of feeling jealous. Of accepting that they were part of my path, while I'd love to hide them, that they played a role in getting me here, and by opening up and sharing with you, that maybe you be able to get through it all with a little more ease.

And that's comforting enough for me.





Thursday, April 19

Smithy Stretch Series - Number Two

The best of intentions, as it goes... 
... the original plan was to tackle these challenges once a month, but as you can tell, the Holiday season turned into the spring, and before you know it it's been awhile. 
While I am just as committed to the project, maybe it's more realistic to say once a quarter? It's really amazing how little extra time I find in a month!

This "month's" challenge was money. Actually, it's been the set challenge for awhile now. Part of my procrastination was that my original design was overwhelmingly crazy. I don't even think my torch could have kept up with such a piece. One day I'll let you sneak a peek into my sketchbook and you'll understand. 

That's the funny thing though, I'm sure athletes could tell you, just how far to push yourself. How to stretch your muscles in a way that makes you stronger, but doesn't tare them and make you see an orthopedic surgeon or walk like you've been riding a horse bareback. 

Despite the delay, I'm really happy with this crazy piece. I found one of the nickels just before seriously re-embarking on this challenge along one of the beaches we frequent. The green patina on it was just fabulous. 

And so I designed.
I etched.
I formed.
I soldered.
And soldered.
And soldered some more. 
And finally set the nickel stones.

I was most proud of the precision on this piece. I was amazed that my calculations were correct and after forming the roll, the nickels fit just perfectly in the ends with no fuss!

Lastly it taught me that I need a guillotine shear ASAP! 

As always, these pieces will be available for sale in my Etsy shop. You will find them at a much lower price than you will find most of my work. The goal with these is to stretch my creativity, to learn new skills, and to cover the expenses. 

You can find it here until sold. 


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:

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. 


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.