Saturday, November 30, 2013

Feathers for Flight: A series of necklaces

Burrow Creek Jasper,
Laguna Lace Agates,
Ocean Jasper,
and Arizona Turquoise.

All with solitaire feathers pierced on the backplate.

Feathers for flight.

Feathers for lightness,
when things are heavy.

In the shop today!
Back to the studio,
heat's on and pickle pot is warm.
Much to do!

xo Erin

Monday, November 25, 2013

an evening with Merlin

My stone guy.....One of the most awesome old dudes out there.
I had the pleasure of visiting him in Livingston where he now lives, just east of Bozeman, MT,
on the way down to Colorado last week.

I got the grande tour.
A shed, no bigger than the bungalito.
One side heated, for the water grinders.
and one side outside, sorta.  For everything else.

He bemoaned his lack of space,
but then cheerily changed the subject to his dreams of a big shop.
A pole-barn.  Where all his stuff would be in the same space,
and he could "really get some shit done."

We talked rocks mostly.
expensive rocks.
mystical rocks.
controversial rocks.
rocks with crappy cleavage,
rocks with special tools,
rocks that were complete junk.
We talked about the ridiculous amount of rocks this guy had come to own,
and what in the hell he was going to DO with them all.
and, with a chuckle, what his wife thought about it all.

But we also talked school.
We talked War. 
Vietnam mostly.
Drug addictions.
Bakeries and love stories.
Metaphysics and weird coincidences.
Rich people.
 Poor people.
Mountain people.
The difference between Craft and Art.
(Merlin most certainly considers himself a craftsman, although I beg to differ....and did.  for hours.)

We talked about his long life in the world of lapidary.
His starts, his stops.  His challenges, and his most proud moments.
Ones where he felt the need (which he rarely does) to drop names of artists whom he's proud to have worked with, not only in collaboration, but also in repairs where not even the original studio could have done better. They said so themselves.  THAT, he says, was something to be proud of.

We talked universities.  school.
We talked a lot on this.  
We considered the prospects of fine art education,
tech schools, workshops, the revere academy.
Apprenticeship. Teaching. Galleries.
And now I know it's the reason I stopped in to see him,
besides to drool over his gorgeous rocks,
and pick up a new loot for Christmas.

We talked about distance.
Between talent and training.
Between working with your hands,
and fulfilling something bigger.
Finding the art in what you do,
falling in love with it.
No matter how badly it can beat you up.
There was a time where Merlin was an affluent rock dealer,
where 30 grand in cash,
and business deals involving it,
were no big thing.
Where loosing it all was, for him, as he has now the space to reflect...
"just part of the cost of doing business..."

Merlins knuckles are raw.
from grinding down piles and piles and piles of lapidary slices.
Scabby, worn, tired.
His shop is tiny.
His eyes are "shot without this damn optivisor".
And he's definitely old enough to retire.

He recognized the struggle in studio art.
The inherent battle of money, and time, and health.

And as a metalsmith in Montana,
and a seasoned road-sales guy,
(35,000 miles a year folks)
He not only told me, with a twinkle in his bright icy-blue eyes,

to buck up.

get busy.

He told me that I'm never going to have anything I wasn't meant to have.

and if you're not having fun, don't do it.

My heart swelled with this good advice.
Thanks, old man.
I needed that.

Friday, November 22, 2013

open road.

Doesn't look much like winter, I know...
a wonderful window shot off the highways of Wyoming this week.

Ahhh, the open road.  
So happy. and promising. and full of hope.

I've been in the plains of Wyoming this week,
the mountains of Colorado,
the desert of Utah,
and back to the cold north of Montana.
Cold and gorgeous.
A great road trip,
a mission of sorts.

to do some sorting of my own.
some calculation, some experience.
finding some space.
Putting old worries to rest,
and creating some peace in a fairly convoluted path lately.

The open road, for me, has always been a place of solace,
a place to deafen my ears,
clear my eyes,
de-cloud my head.

A little under 3,000 miles in 7 days.
a breath of fresh life.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Of Perennials, and a note to myself.

This year....
I blew out a candle.
28 more would have made 29.
A year that, for whatever reason, hits me like a ton of bricks. 
I can't say it's the first of birthdays I thought I was getting old, 
(how I know so many of you are laughing at me now, thinking "Hah! 29, girl you are YOUNG!")

But this year I feel a little weird about it.
I feel younger than I ever have felt.
I feel naive. I feel afraid.
I feel big, scary things ahead.

I built some jewelry this fall that i think is a start to something....good.
I am getting better, 
definitely stronger,
thoughts more and more finalized in metal.
And it feels good.

it feels great.

I feel like I'm making art and not inventory. 
and now I know how important that distinction is...
one a vehicle sometimes for the other, 
sliding off eachother, building from one another.

I am feeling more and more like the metalsmith I know I can be. 
I feel more and more like that scary word *artist*
That growth is so important.  I can own it.  It's MINE.
That work was challenging, and complex, and well,  it was HARD.
I was expressive, and concrete, and I pushed myself technically.
And I liked it. 

But I feel a year gone by, and I step back to see what it is I have done.

And where I am going.  
I feel the cool nights sneaking up me here in the northwest,
 the cold winter sliding it's way into my cool fall....
I feel it in my bones.
A change of seasons. 
A change in myself.  
ah F***, another year gone by! Already!

and then...I get itchy for more.  I get intent on change. 
Restless is a word, although I feel like it's more than that. 
I light a fire under my own ass and expect results. ASAP.
I DEMAND change from myself,
from everyone around me.
from everything I know to be solid and anchoring.
and not without resistance. anger. fear. frustration.
From myself.
and from others.
a fitful time, really.

I think it's called growth.

As I've gotten older, I am starting to understand it a little better.
It's not such a shock anymore,
this perennial restlessness.
It's seasonal.  Like a final harvest.
Or when the leaves finally decide to let go of their trees.

Not everyone wants change.  
Not everyone likes it like you do, Erin. 
Not everyone is the leaf throwing themselves into the wind.

Remember that.


Like Brandi Carlile sings:
"I'm warning you, We're growing up..."