Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What Company!

I was busy through the 1st of December, choosing the pieces and creating the display for a show I have been privilged to be a part of. This is another show hosted and supported by the wonderful and talented folks at PSG (PA Society of Goldsmiths). When I arrived at the location, Temple Keneseth Israel in Philadelphia, I thought I was hallucinating from sleep deprivation. Sure, I was hoping for a nice place, I had heard they had a gallery. But this place couldn't possibly be right. Would a temple really take up a city block? I entered to find a granite and marble reception area remniscent of an art museum. Obviously, I must have made an error. That's easy to understand. You see, setting up for this show should have been easy. We can set up a whole booth in a few hours, right? How long could it take to arrange some jewelry in 3 of PSG's ubiquitous black frames? No more than a couple of hours, I was sure. Oops. 21 hours and no sleep later, I only had a 2-1/2 hour drive to Philly, and then I would finally be done. It was easy to understand why I might have taken a wrong turn. Amazingly, there was the gallery, and what a beautiful space! And there were the members of PSG, velcroing and arranging, hanging the frames that have become identified with the group. It must be the place after all!

A couple of hours later, all of the black frames were hung, the artists names were in place, the glass cases were locked, and we stepped back to take in the whole picture. to me, this was just irresistable. The quality and variety of the work was astounding. To see all of this work hung in one place gave me flutters! (Or was that the fourth cup of coffee?) Check out some of the photos to get an idea of the breadth and quality that PSG artists are capable of!

The following Sunday, we all joined together for the opening and artist's reception. Hors devoirs and quality art jewelry - is there a better combination? It was great fun to meet with all of the other artists, and to get to know the temple director and meet some of the members. Quite a few pieces had already been sold, and we got right to work. I saw pieces being wrapped up steadily, and I helped to make a few sales as well, if I do say so myself. Many PSG artists donated a piece to the temple's fundraising silent auction, and I can't wait to see how much they raise. With several activities taking place that same day in its various auditoriums, it's obvious that this temple is a vital and vibrant presence in the community, and well appreciated by its members.

So it wasn't a case of sleep deprivation after all. And it turns out that 20 hours isn't all that unusual to create the displays for these events. Well, I'm forewarned for next time. I won't wait until the last day. I will plan, and prepare early, and.... yeah, right. Okay. It's late. I think it's that sleep deprivation thing again. Time to sleep, and dream of the beautiful pieces hanging there.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Finally, a Show!

After 2 years without a show, I have finally taken the step to get back out there! As a member or PSG (the Pennsylvania Society of Goldsmiths), I had the opportunity to join some outstanding jewelry artists this past weekend for a jewelry trunk show at the Delaware Center for Horticulture. This was a great time for me to pull my work out of hiding, and to begin to develop the new displays that will take me through my shows next year. A big change for me was in not including most of my bead items, which tend to be better sellers than my silver alone. But I did it, and now that I have started, I know I'll keep the momentum going.
There's so much still to be done. Prices need to be figured and tagged (I hate ugly price tags, isn't there a better way?) Chains and neck wires need to be added to the pendants, some color has to be added to the display. And I am determined to create some silver pieces that will use beaded components, so that my beads can come to the shows with me! Lots of work ahead, and it felt so good to take the first step. Too bad that the five pair of silver ginkgo earrings, perfect for a horticulture show, are still sitting half formed on my bench!

One of my favorite parts of this weekend was joining a wonderful metalsmith, Maggi Dabaecke, in her home. Maggi was gracious enough to invite me to stay with her during the show, and what a pleasant evening we had, sharing stories over wine and some fine Italian cheese from her recent trip to Italy. Her home is absolutely beautiful, and her work shop - be still my heart! Bright, airy, modern, and the size of a small classroom.... I still have chills! I was fortunate enough to have taken a workshop with Maggi several years ago, and her work is always exciting, different, and most of all, fun! She has expanded into the realm of enamels, and I can't wait for the workshop she promised us in torch-fired enamels this spring. That's Maggi, on the upper right, with some of her jewelry sculptures - pins and pendants so special, they have a pedestal of their own!

The biggest benefit of this weekend, for me, was in joining the amazing group of artists that is PSG. Experiencing everyone's work was an absolute joy, and provided instant inspiration. The work I saw was full of shape, full of color, complex and dimensional. It was certainly well above the artistic level of the jewelry I see at many craft shows. What a pleasure it was to share the weekend with such craftsmen! In between customers, we had the opportunity to talk, compare ideas, share notes, and trade information. I came home with my head so full of the beautiful work I had seen, that I can't wait to see the effect it has on my own creations!My thoughts are awhirl with images of texture, color, metals, and shapes. Who knows what the results might be?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Beginning the Journey

Well, I began my journey into the land of art and silver a number of years ago, but this marks my journey into blogging. It’s exciting to speak to others, leaving a trail of thoughts, ideas, and silver scraps.

Here is a piece I am particularly proud of. I made it just a few days ago, inspired by all of the art and technique whizzing by me at the JAN jewelry retreat I just returned from.
JAN, wonderful online forum full of kind, intelligent, and gracious jewelry artists, ran its second annual East Coast retreat last week, and I was privileged to join them. For the first time, I was able to put faces to names, and real names to on line nicknames. What a BLAST!!! Literally! I’m still sleeping. For a whole week, we ran demos and tutorials for each other, cooked for each other, watched one another work, stretched our styles, and shared our tools and ideas, all fueled by Wendy’s better than best margaritas.

Janice, our forum leader, and a damn fine person, bless her hearrrrt, made a shield shaped piece that I didn’t want to put down. What is so compelling about it? The shape, the stones (oooh, sugilite!), the design, the weight, the hand engraving (I’m still gonna find a way to learn that!), all came together in a piece that was at once mysterious, intriguing, and sensual. Okay, I’ll admit it. I wanted to own it, but I wanted more to have made it. Well, I’ll show them all! I came home with the beginnings of a sheet of mixed metal laminate, something I haven’t made for some time. After replacing the earrings that disappeared up the vacuum this summer, I cut a mixed metal disk, and made the shield pendant above, Moonlight on the Water. I’m entranced by it. It’s so easy to find satisfaction in the Land of Art and Silver!