Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Show success!

I'm pretty happy with my pony-o.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I have been ignoring this little corner of the internet for a year. A YEAR!

At one point (a year ago, apparently) it became too much to try and do all the things. Working full time + working at the barn + riding Cholula 5-6 days per week + making jewelry and doing all that is involved with that = no time for blogging.

Or etsy, apparently, since I became one of those people that allows their shop to expire to nothing. I never understood those people until now.

But, keeping new work in the 2 galleries and building up my on-hand inventory for shows twice a year seems to be about all I'm capable of these days.

I'm ok with it. I'd like the time to maintain this online presence and etsy, but it's something that I don't have right now. I don't much read up on any blogs anymore, just occasionally skim a few here and there.

It's interesting what all of this has meant in my work. I feel a little more free, a little less constrained by etsy and the constant obsession over people liking a piece enough to buy it. I miss the interaction with customers, but sending things off to the galleries is a little freeing...I've made a lot of things I don't know that I would have, otherwise. I play and experiment and I don't have room in my brain for all of that fretting so I'm feeling a little more confident in the work I'm producing.

Here is some of the stuff I've made:

Bone button set in sterling, cotton thread detail.
Wing necklace, sterling and iolite. This is a slow growing series that I am completely in love with.

Two ring, labradorite and pearl. I acquired some of these really lovely rose cut labradorites around the same time I became adamant about making more of an effort to combine stones.

This piece just makes me SIGH. I'm fairly sure if it returns to me, unsold from the gallery, it's going to find a swift home around my neck.

Fiber love. 
Yellow sapphire + labradorite. 
 Custom Ocean Jasper necklace


This beast is taking up much of my time these days. She is getting fancy. We are schooling 2nd level AND she learned her first baby steps of piaffe a few weeks ago. She makes me want to pull my hair out a lot, but riding her is incredibly rewarding.

Most of what I write these days is about Cholula. I keep a pretty detailed log of all of our rides and training. I'm also trimming her feet myself now (because I didn't have enough going on in my life)! 

And that is basically the last year, in summary. Until next time, whenever that may be.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A pony post.

The past few weeks I have largely focused on riding. My first recognized show is in 2 weeks and I've kicked it into gear to prepare.

The last schooling show was abysmally awful. Cholula warmed up beautifully - she was sharp and responsive, she cantered when asked, and overall she was quite lovely to ride. Unfortunately, there was a big wait between the end of our warm up and our first test, and that wait did us in.

I had just a few minutes to work with her before our test, and the horse that I rode earlier had apparently taken a vacation. Both tests were big fights that I lost so badly my trainer hopped on afterward for a quick come to jesus.

Needless to say, I questioned everything at that point, especially my decision to show at a "real" show in June.

2 days later we had a clinic with another trainer, and I have to say it was exactly what both of us needed. I was worried the clinic would be just as unproductive as the show, but the trainer taught us some new warm up exercises that have been the ticket to getting her attention on me. We start with these before every ride, and the amount of time I spend getting her in front of the leg has lessened with each session.

In addition, my trainer has been riding her every Monday. She will also be riding Cholula at the show - first level! I am terrified but my last few rides have been stellar so hopefully we're on the right track. Today we had a nice long trail ride that involved a lot of galloping hills...by the last stretch her canter was smooth, easy, and steady.

Here are some photos I took 2 weeks ago of my trainer and Cho:

(My favorite)

Cho trying to grab the bit...sigh.
Finishing the ride with a gallop up my favorite hill

Cho looking quite pleased with herself
I DO have a few new things to photograph and post as well, so stay tuned!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

On open houses.

Twice a year I'm invited to sell my jewelry at an open house (literally, at their house) of a wonderful jewelry-making couple in town. It's been an incredible opportunity and I'm so grateful for the chance to show my jewelry there. I have learned so much from the both of them - about selling, about gem-buying, bench tips and tricks, about the great jewelry world outside of my little etsy bubble. (Etsy, despite its size, is really a little bubble...and one that I feel I'm outgrowing a bit).

This spring's open house came at a bit of an odd time. I took a month or so off from making jewelry, as you know. The stress of a job change and other things going on consumed me, and the last thing I wanted to do was sit at my bench. Gradually, the desire to do these things came back, and I started making again. But I wasn't in "open house" mode, that is making things I know will work well with the crowd. Like earrings. These past few months I haven't much felt like making earrings, so I haven't.

I brought a metric ton of necklaces with me, though! And most of them came back with me, too. But that's ok. Some things found homes and I had a fantastic time. I'm feeling especially renewed and refreshed and excited about jewelry after the last 2 days. I want to take classes and I want to make rings until my fingers bleed and I get it just right and I want to learn more stone settings and improve all of my technical skills and learn a whole book's worth of new ones.

It's a good place to be in.

Because, no matter where this goes, it's something that I really enjoy doing. And I think it's good to be good at the things you enjoy, even if they don't make you rich or even pay your bills. Cholula certainly isn't paying any of my bills (more like creating half of them), but I work really hard to be a better rider and overall equestrian. It's important to me to be knowledgeable and have the ability to teach horses things. It is also important to me to make jewelry.

So! Onto the next phase. I am currently looking into branching out...to galleries. It's a really scary step, especially with having a full time job that is completely separate from my jewelry endeavors. But I think it's really time. I've been frustrated with etsy and my lack of time lately...I can't spend forever on social networking, online marketing, etc. Look at this neglected blog! I've had wonderful reception on etsy, and decent enough sales, but if I ever want to do this as my living...it's not enough. I also think that now is a really good time for me to spend just creating what I want to create. Etsy has limited me, in a way. It's the nature of the beast. I want to allow myself to not be influenced by etsy: what I think will sell, what I absorb from that being my main source of jewelry sales, etc.

At this point, I'm not planning on leaving etsy completely, but I'm not relying on it as I have for the past few years.

And on that rambling note, have some jewelry! These are the last pieces I completed before the show:

Chubby bird necklace:
Is this not the most adorable necklace ever? It sold. I would have been ok if it stuck around for awhile though, because it's SO CUTE! I'll be making another in the near future, I'm pretty sure.

Cocoon Earrings
I had a little fun with heat-treating copper one night, obviously. I LOVE how it turned out on these! Also sold.

A little collage:
A wee sterling collage with a wee wire-wrapped green tourmaline.

Coral Ring:
I really need a better photo of this as I'm cringing at the quality (damn you, broken camera). This one is filled to the brim with TEXTURE.

Dew necklace:
Remember those earrings from the previous post? I thought I'd try and do a set. The earrings sold, this did not. This necklace is a reminder to never buy opal beads ever again, because they break.

Pinwheel necklace with carnelian:
The cost of silver prices has made me open up my eyes to all of the scrap laying around my bench. That little pinwheel charm? That's been hanging out for awhile, and I haven't been sure of how to use it. Obviously this necklace was the answer.

Retro Kitchen necklace:
To match the fab (sold) earrings, of course. I ADORE these serpentine beads!

Sneetch necklace:
This may look familiar, as it was one of those "pick your size" things I tried once upon a time (and didn't give much of a chance to). I opted to make this into a necklace, had to do a really fun and weird bail for it, and am overall really happy with how it turned out. Doesn't hurt that the slice of imperial jasper is dreamy.

Spring Pea necklace:

I got this mystery agate from the local lapidary and I'm super thrilled with how this turned out. It sold too!

On, as a size reference:

Tree Rings necklace:
This cab of chrysocolla is amazing. For a blue that vibrant to exist naturally? Oh my. This was from last year's trip to Tucson and I've been holding onto it for sometime.


That's all for now...hope to be back here before June!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Why yes, I do make jewelry.

I've settled into my new job a little more and have been working away in the studio for a few weeks. It helps to have a little fire under my feet - the spring open house is only 2.5 weeks away!

Here are some things I finished up on Sunday. They won't make it to etsy unless they don't sell at the open house, but I'm willing to take reservations on pieces.

Sadly, my camera seems to be dying. I'm trying to figure out what to do to replace it until I can save up for the camera I really want: a Canon 50D. I was able to mess with it enough to get these pictures, but I don't know if it'll cooperate next time!

Botanical Necklace, with turquoise and moonstone:
I am so excited for this necklace. It turned out exactly as I imagined it onto paper. I often sift through all of my sketches (I have dozens of pieces of loose paper everywhere with jewelry sketches...I know I should get a sketchbook, but I always forget to carry one around) to see what strikes me at the moment. I'd love to make everything as I dream it up, but so many ideas take a back seat to newer ideas that take a stronger hold on my brain.

Anyway, this was one of many that I chose that day!

Copper Drops, part 2 (I made a similar, shiny pair of earrings a few years back):
I've had these copper pieces cut out for over a year. I didn't want to remake the earrings I last made with that template, but wasn't sure what else to do. These are a prime example of what happens when silver is over $40 an ounce and I'm limited on supplies...make do with what you have!

Crumpets Necklace, with a lumpy agate:
Quite pleased I opted for a necklace instead of the ring this was going to become.
I have been eating crumpets for breakfast. They are wonderful and squishy and I feel very sophisticated saying I take my tea with crumpets and jam.

Rain Water earrings, with Peruvian Opal:
The wire wrapping on the right earring is a little special. I know it's probably not very professional of me to point out flaws, but there you have it. They are meant to be rustic and a little messy and what can I say, I'm a sucker for imperfections.

Earrings, with Serpentine (I don't have a clever name for these!):
I really love these ones...I took them for a test drive today and they have a fabulous swing to them. They are probably my favorite from this batch!

Lastly, Tumbleweed earrings:
I made these for myself but I'm not entirely sure I'll keep them. We'll see.

Cholula and I have our first show on Saturday! It will be quite the test...can we really canter at the exact time we're supposed to?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Riding the Cholula mare

Rex was in town last week and agreed to come out to the barn and take photos of me! It's so rare that I get photos of myself riding, so this was a nice treat.

I have been planning my year of ponies:
1. Schooling shows in April & May
2. Recognized show in June

Anyway, here are some photos:

I have a terrible habit of bringing my leg up and back. Working on it.
We also worked on conquering puddles. When I was leading her from the pasture to the barn, she actually climbed a freaking snow bank to avoid stepping in a puddle. SIGH.

This is what she looks like most of the time.
And this is perhaps the most unflattering photo of her ever taken. Yes, she does have a giant weird tooth in front.

The end!