Jarita's Creations

A little about me and my creative adventures. Here I will share both my successes and not-so-successes. I will share the lessons learned and accomplishments made. I look forward to feedback, helpful advice, and making new friends!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Pottery Components to My Necklaces

Well, I'm finally home! I love being home and missed everything here so much. All my critters and most of my plants survived, but there are many things that have fallen behind that I need to catch up on.

I did manage to spend a little time out in the studio last week and again some this week. I spent a couple of days just cleaning and reorganizing my art studio. Then, I sat down and created a few pendants that hopefully will work well with the beaded components that I created while in RI.
I have a small handheld extruder that I bought at Hobby Lobby. It was designed for Fimo and other oven-fired clays, but it works well with soft ^6 clays too. It came with a variety of tiny plates to adjust the size and shape of the coils. So far, I have really only worked with 2 of them in creating jewelry, although I have used some of the others while making other items in the past.

Oh, and I have discovered TOOTHPICKS! They are a perfect tool for creating jewelry. At first I thought I would simply use them to drill the holes because they are thinner and less harsh than my Kemper S&P drill tool, but I discovered they make excellent shaping tools too. While the coil is very soft and flexible, I wrap it around the toothpick. It creates cool loops like this:

I don't think I'll add glaze to this round of jewelry pieces. I want to see if I like them without the glaze. I will still fire them to ^6, just without the glaze. I will add color in the form of Mason stains and Amaco underglazes (also called engobes). I have made other items from other clays where I applied the color and fired without glaze to ^6 and I really liked the effect. I'm hoping I will like these finished that way too.

I designed this pendant to go with the triangle-components-necklace that I blogged about before. I"ll apply a rose tone to the coil and a green tone to the leaves. I used the toothpicks to create the nice corner loops. I"ll make more of these and choose the most appropriate one to combine with my beaded components. The others that come out nice will be offered for sale individually in my etsy shop. I want to make a few different sizes too.

Speaking of different sizes, I'm not as happy with this one. I think it's too large for a pendant, but I'll finish it up anyway and see if it's ok after firing to ^6. It will shrink some in firing, but as dry greenware it measures 2.5". Even with a 10% shrinkage, it will still be 2.25". I'm a small person and couldn't wear a pendant that large. I like its shape and design, though. Maybe I can do some similar ones just a little smaller.

I made a few more pendants and even drilled and shaped some simple leaves to be used as beads. I"ll continue in this direction and keep blogging my progress. I'm really enjoying this direction.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Life is about priorities...

As I create, I think about all kinds of stuff...I am really enjoying this phase of my creativity working with the little things like jewelry and ornaments. More than that, though, I have been thinking on my life-focuses for the present time and the immediate future. When I spent my reflective time at the beginning of the year considering resolutions and such, I thought that this would be the year that I would finally get my little business really up and running. The past couple of years, I have sold a few items on etsy and at a local craft show, but I haven't really been very sales-productive. I thought that this year would be different! I determined to setup at a regional show in August and again in November. I decided that I would finally do enough to warrant an actual business license and filing taxes! Hmmm...well, those are good intentions, but...life is about priorities.

Constantly worrying about productivity is counter-productive and anti-creative. I have seen too much low-quality work created by others in the name of productivity. If it needs the time to be made right, then the time needs to be there. Cutting corners to increase productivity in a limited amount of time is wrong! (Don't misunderstand, some artists create very nice work in a short amount of time.) So, in order for me to create enough artwork to fully display at a regional show, I need a lot of time. I like taking my time to assure beautiful artwork. It makes me feel better and I hope it is appreciated by any customers that I may eventually have, but honestly, I take my time because I like taking my time. I love watching a piece develop; I actually savor the progress. Whether it's a pile of beads entwining into an elegant necklace or a lump of clay developing into a decorative, semi-functional piece of artwork, it fascinates me to watch the metamorphosis and know that my hands and creativity played an essential role. So, it matters to me and I need to assure that I provide adequate time for the proper development of my artwork.

So, Time...and Priorities...balancing those seems to be a major part of what life's all about. I had set those grand goals at the beginning of the year. I also set significant goals for other areas of my life. I am a mom to 3 young adult-children. Two of my kids have needed my presence and assistance out of town for the past couple of months. (BTW, I will be returning home this weekend!!!) I redirected my creative endeavors from my pottery vases and candle plates to beaded jewelry and allotted some time while in Rhode Island for it, but I have not devoted all my time to the jewelry. I'm not here primarily to work on the jewelry, but have other priorities. The jewelry is nice to work on between my other concerns. Well, as things are wrapping up here, I am thinking on my goals and focuses when I get back home.

As I said, I set goals for other areas of my life in addition to my artwork. I am also working on a hobby farm. I have numerous thoughts and reasons, probably more than enough for another blog, on the subject, but suffice it to say that I am committed to my little farm too. After I get home, I will be adding to my chicken flock and planting lots and lots of berries and other plants. I am very excited about this! But, it will take a lot of time...time away from my artwork.

Life is about balancing priorities. I'm not the best at it, but I continue to try to balance those things that I find important. Will I be setting up at those regional shows or making enough sales to claim it on my taxes this year? No. But I will continue to create and someday I will have enough together to take the next step.

Don't worry, I will never stop creating new things or exploring new ideas. I don't think I can stop. It is as much a part of me as breathing, eating, and caring about my family. I should be reopening my etsy shop within the next two weeks and hopefully will have new pieces listed within the next 4-6 weeks. (I still have one more trip to make to Rhode Island next month and other things that need settled elsewhere.) I will continue to make progress with my artwork, sometimes slow and steady and sometimes in short yet productive bursts. It will all be a balancing act. Will I ever be a full-fledged art business? Only time will tell.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My jewelry is unique

I enjoy taking my time to create my work. When I was a teenager, my mom and I would go browse craft shows. We didn't go to actually buy things. We went to see things. We would look at the handcrafted items and figure out how it was made. We discovered that we could make almost everything there for a lot less money and without too much difficulty. This observation has greatly influenced my life and my artwork. You see, I want to make special things. I don't want my work easily replicated. Why would someone buy something from me if they could just go home and easily make it themselves?

So, in deciding to create jewelry, I have chosen stitched necklaces with ceramic components. Why? Well, first of all, to be honest, I find the rythmic stitching to be relaxing and fun. But, I have also considered some of my basic principals. Stitching takes time, more time than the average person is willing to put into it themselves. Stitching takes an attention to details that most people lack. It's not particularly hard or strenuous, but it is more than most people are willing to learn or put in the effort. Yet, it is very attractive, looks complex, compliments many styles, and will be able to be combined with my ceramic components as they become available.

I continue to occasionally browse craft shows. The predominant jewelry style is simple, strung necklaces where the maker simply strings unique beads in an attractive pattern. Hello?!? What's so special about that?!? I honestly intend no offense to anyone. I know that those (mostly) ladies are nice people who like pretty jewelry and want to share their love of precious beads with others for a profit. That's nice, but what makes what they are doing so special? What prevents me from going home, going online, ordering the same beads from FireMountainGems.com, paying a ton less, and assembling the simple necklace myself? Personally, as a craftsperson, I don't want my potential customers to look at my wares and think that thought. I strive to create artwork that draws admiration and a desire to possess the unique item as I have created it. I don't want them to take the idea home; I want them to take the actual item home.

So, I take my time and create unique, stitched necklaces with unique, handmade ceramic components. I don't make anything that is totally weird or grotesque, just unique and elegant. The necklaces that I make will have ceramic leaves and flowers handmade by me. Each leaf or flower will be unique. There will not be any two that are identical. If someone likes my leaves and flowers, they must get them from me. They can't order the same thing for a lot less through a massive, corporate, import company. My ceramic components are what will really make the greatest difference in my jewelry. The time put into the stitchwork will add details and depth to the overall unique quality and make it less likely that my potential customers will have a desire to go home and do it themselves. Plus, the stitchwork compliments the ceramic components in the attention to detail and style.

Many factors influence my work: time, availability of materials, investment monies, inspirations, and me-my soul, my principals, my thoughts, my likes and dislikes, my past, and my dreams. I sincerely hope that these influences affect my work in a positive way and that others will always find my creations pleasing.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Overdue Update

Hmmm, I'm not doing a very good job maintaining my blog so far. It has been about a month since I last posted and, creatively speaking, I have been just a little busy. Although, I still think I don't complete enough, I have been working on a few things. I guess I just need to keep creating as much as time and opportunity allow.

I am continuing my work on jewelry that combines stitched beadwork with handmade ceramic components. I have finished the beaded sections to 6 necklaces. I have already shared the info on the triangle-components necklace. Now, I want to share a few snapshots and sketches about the one of the other 5.

My favorite one so far creates a scene. I designed this one to look like a vine meandering along a trellis. Using the herringbone stitch, I created the "vine" with three columns of root beer Delica seed beads and one column of pine green Delica seed beads. I added leaves made with the pine green beads and will later be incorporating tiny ceramic leaves. The leaves vary slightly in size to provide additional depth. The ceramic leaves will also vary slightly with the central, focal leaf being larger than the others. I created the "trellis" using the netting stitch in light violet Delica seed beads with the root beer beads as the crossing points. Then, to give technical strength and an appearance of a "stone structure supporting the trellis", I added labrodite and sesame jasper stones between the stitched sections. I really love the way I finished the toggle bar; I actually stitched the netting over and around one of the labrodite beads! It looks really cool. (Sorry, my snapshots are not perfect. My hands shake too much to be a very good photographer.) I like the concept of the toggle loop, but I will admit that I struggled making this exact one. This one is functional and appears fine, but in making it, and continuing to run it through my head later, I have figured out a better way to do the same concept in the future.

I want to share about the other necklaces that I have been working on, but I also want to get this posted. I have already been working on this posting off and on for a couple of days. There are so many things that I want to share!!! I need to get better about updating my blog...