Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Very Vitsky Christmas

I don't *do* Christmas. I have some leftover angst from childhood, I'm Jewish and there's not a lot of family left around my side of the world anymore. I celebrated Christmas when I was young. The Menorah was placed on a table right next to the tree, the tree was decorated to the nines and the Menorah was lit. It was especially beautiful when Chanukah overlapped Christmas and the light of the candles danced in the metallic gleam of the ornaments.

A few days ago I got a package that was marked "Do Not Open Until Xmas" from my cousins in the east. I'm thinking of moving to Richmond, Virginia in a couple of years and we had been talking about my coming out this December but life and personal schedules intervened. I was so surprised to see a box from them and couldn't begin to guess what was inside. I followed directions and waited until this morning to open it up. And when I did - just look what my eyes beheld! 11 individually wrapped prezzies!

I'm pretending that 8 of them are my Hanukah presents, two are stocking stuffers and one is the major Christmas bonanza.

I received, in no special order, a lint roller (a very necessary item with Diego and Ella's fur on every surface and piece of clothing), a much needed bottle of hand cream called "embrace happiness", and an adorable Nutcraker pen. There was a box of Godiva chocolates (which I will scarf down for breakfast in a few minutes), some pretty little bird and branch paper hankies, a handmade bookmark, a cake of goat milk soap (are they trying to tell me something?) and a note pad for things to do.

I got the obligatory pair of adorable socks (which I already put on since my toes are fahreezing), business card sized monthly calendars (think I'll frame those) and there was even a miniature partridge in a pear tree drawing tablet. Well, there's not an actual pear tree, but the partridge is front and center. I can't express how delighted I am.
Ella is enjoying the rustle and crunch of my booty too!
My cousins Patricia and Sally are so sweet. They're actually my Father's cousins. His Uncle was only 6 years older than he was, so his cousins are more in my age bracket than they were in his. We met on FB two years or so ago and I went to visit them last Thanksgiving.

I was invited to go to my L.A. cousin Joan's house for dinner tonight, but my Grinchy self declined. I wonder if there's still room at the inn... I'll have breakfast, go to my usual Christmas morning movie (The King's Speech I think) and give her a call to see. Thanks to all my cousins, near and far for including me in your seasonal celebrations. And to Pat and Sal - Thanks for all my magical treasures!

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday celebration, no matter the holiday, no matter the circumstances. Enjoy the season!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dreams of Time Gone By

I've been feeling envy this morning. The envy of youth. The envy of freedom. The envy of discovery. The envy of passion.

But it's not the green eyed sort of envy. The kind that binds your heart and drains your soul. Not even the green grass kind. It's more the wistful, wishful sort. Perhaps a kind of Samantha Stevens blend of envy and the desire for magical powers. The kind where you can twitch your nose and travel back to an earlier stage in your life and do things differently. Albeit with your current assortment of wisdom and intuition of course.
Linger - Lynette Andreasen

I'm wishing I were at university. Learning every technique under the stars from fabulous instructors with amazing tools and machinery and being introduced to unusual materials and creating the stuff that (my) dreams are made of.  I long to go back to a time when it was all about the learning, the making... and the selling (and teaching) came second, third or fourth.

Home - Lynette Andreasen

Of course, in my actual school years I was singing, didn't think I could draw my way out of a paper bag (hence no physical art in my life) and didn't even finish my first year of Jr. College (didn't want to do the basics - math, english etc). So if I *did* manage to transform into my 19 year old self it would have to be with my current knowledge base and interests.  I actually think of myself as an overgrown adolescent just coming into her own, so maybe it wouldn't be that far of a trip after all.

I'm sure you know by now that I've been surfing the web. I always want to take a trip in the wayback machine after an excursion into cyber space.

Thesis Spoons - Lynette Andreasen

Last year I had a creative crush on Lynette Andreasen. I wish I could remember how I found her. Perhaps on Flickr. She was in graduate school at Arizona State University and starting to work on her thesis. I began reading her blog, stalking her Etsy shop, commenting on her Flickr photos and befriended her on FaceBook. I adore her aesthetic. And I lusted after all the new toys (tools) she was experimenting with to create her lovely work. I even bought some of her thesis spoons after the show so I could have my own little piece(s) of her mystical creativity. 

Brooch Study - Laura Wood

Then this morning I was looking at photos on Crafthaus and fell in love with Laura Wood. Laura is at East Carolina University. Since this is just the very beginning of my love affaire, I don't know too much about her. I do know that she's doing wonderful things with handmade paper including setting it into bezels as brooches and making the most intriguing 3-D wall hangings. I plan on getting lost in her Tumblr later this evening.

Love Hunger - Laura Wood

And then I plan on taking some of my own advice. Practicing the art of 'Mindful Observation'. Figuring out WHY. Trying to decipher exactly *what* it is that I find so exciting about the work of these two young women. Can I learn something from their process? Is it possible to scan the depths of my own experience to school my current methodology?  I'm thinking so. And it won't take a trip into the Twilight Zone to enroll.

Sharing The Heirloom (individual brooches) - Laura Wood

(Margaret - this one's for you)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Back on the Horse?

Well, the end of the year is at hand and that means the end of the RAD (Ring A Day) project on  Flickr. I made it through 3 months of rings before I bailed, but there are some folks who have soldiered (or soldered) through every single day making one ring of one kind or another. Some "real" metalsmithed rings and some conceptual creations.
Marthe Le Van - Security envelope and red ink

RAD developed a life of it's own as Lark Books took notice and is working on a book to be published in the fall of 2011 - and I'm so proud to say that a few of my rings will be included. Not sure which, but the anticipation is thrilling! Next some very dedicated makers brought the challenge to the attention of the SNAG conference coordinators who decided to present an exhibition at the Seattle conference in May 2011. Then Punch Gallery jumped on the band wagon and will present (and sell) the rings at a group show following the conference. I'm equally thrilled that I'll have some rings in those two events too.

Lora Hart - Plastic Spoon, Cubic Zirconia

I've been kind of sad that the challenge is ending. It was a wonderful experience and inspiration while I was taking part, and it's been an inspiration to see all the fabulous rings that are still being fabricated by all the talented, continuing artists.

Tomi Durgin - Fabricated Sterling Silver

But wait.. Thomasin Durgin also know as "MetalRiot" (who has made some of the most thought provoking and wonderful entries) decided that the fun doesn't have to stop in 2011! The new incarnation will be a ring a week. That's only 52 rings instead of 365. A much more manageable endeavor. And I'm thinking about jumping in again. And you can too!! Anyone with a way to make any kind of ring and a Flickr account can join the RAW group. You have another two weeks to start sketching. Jump in at any time and post when you're able. C'mon! Join me!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Hi All,

I think you know that I'm a Senior Instructor for PMC Connection. Well, there are some exciting changes going on and I wanted to give you all a head's up. Here's a press release that went out on December 9 to various publications.

PMC Connection Announces
New Leadership for Education Program

December 9, 2010
Mesquite, Texas

PMC Connection Education Directors Mary Ann and Ken Devos made the move from administration to full-time teaching in 2010. With vacancies in the Director roles, PMCC took the opportunity to overhaul its education program and diversify the leadership of its teachers.

PMC Connection is pleased to announce four new Directors of its Education program:
Director of Certification Curriculum and Teacher Development - Linda Kline
Artistic Advisor - Lora Hart
Director of Education Marketing - Peggy Houchin
Technical Advisor - Mary Ellin D'Agostino

By bringing more voices to the leadership of its educational offerings, PMCC hopes to create an environment where educators and artisans are continuously exchanging ideas and sharing best practices about metal clay, art, and teaching.

Jennifer Roberts, PMCC President explained, "The best teachers are always learning themselves. The metal clay world is experiencing exciting innovation at a rapid rate, at the same time new tools for running a business and reaching out to students appear every day. Our Senior Instructors will lead the conversations about this new territory and they have much to offer our educators and metal clay world.

"I love teaching and being able to share my passion with other metal clay enthusiasts," said new PMCC Artistic Advisor, Lora Hart. Hart's new PMCC blog CornerStone will launch in January 2011. "With interviews, monthly challenges and a variety of thought provoking posts, my goal is to explore the world of art/studio jewelry and create a friendly gathering place for both our Senior Instructor team members and all fans of PMC Connection," explained Hart.

By splitting the leadership among the four directors, PMCC plans to delve more deeply into each area and to provide even greater resources for metal clay artisans and educators. At the same time, PMCC will continue to benefit from the expertise of Mary Ann and Ken Devos, who were pioneers of metal clay and have evolved into
experts in the field. Roberts explained, "We are thrilled that Mary Ann and Ken will remain a vital part of the PMC Connection team."

The new directors are assuming their responsibilities gradually and all will be in place by January 2011.

PMC Connection is a leading supplier of metal clays - providing supplies, education, and inspiration to artisans worldwide.