Sunday, September 6, 2009

Building an Infrastructure

I've been following the amazing bridge repair feat of a lifetime that is happening this weekend on the San Francisco Bay Bridge ( The planning, practice and expertise that have gone into the undertaking are simply amazing. Go watch a video or two, and pay special attention to the faces of the people involved. They seem bemused and proud at the same time, and they fairly vibrate with excitement.

That's what I want to feel about my work every time I sit down to create. And the lessons these bridge builders have to share are lessons for makers of all sorts. Prepare every way you can--practice, have even more materials than you think you'll need, rehearse, know all the tricks of the trade--and then dive in. Tell the world that your work is important enough to inconvenience people for a few days and shut the damn bridge down. Accept the risk of complete collapse and go ahead anyway. It will never happen unless you pull out the tools and start. And then, keep going, because finishing matters. Unexpected problems along the way are no excuse. They found a crack in the old span of the bridge today that would have forced a closure of the bridge whenever it had showed up. But because they had all the pieces in place, the extra materials, the people, the expertise, they're just adding that repair to the weekend's work, and last I heard they still expect to reopen the bridge on time.

In my own search to become more professional in my work habits, I've made a lot of progress, but I have a long way yet to go. I think I'm going to put a picture of the Bay Bridge up in my studio as a reminder. I've got the practice, the materials and the knowledge. Now I just need to block out the time, shut down outside traffic, and do it.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Just a little test post...

to see if I can make this import to FB thing work. Maybe I'll stick a picture in, too, just to see if that shows up. I'll try to find one I didn't post yesterday. For the rest of you who are as clueless as I am, Sherry Cordova pointed me to this link for importing blogs: I knew there had to be a way; I just hadn't noodled around enough to find it. Today I'm grateful for friends who lead the way!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

34 Years of Practice

Today is our 34th wedding anniversary. That's a lot of practice at being married--297.840 hours, not counting leap years. And, of course, way fewer hours if you only count time we spent in each other's company. But we were married even when miles apart, and so I say count them all.

Now, this is a blog about design and jewelry, not about relationships, so why am I talking about our anniversary? Because the point holds, whether you're talking about a marriage or about design. It isn't only time in obvious practice that matters. You're designing all the time. This weekend in Napa I didn't make a single piece of jewelry or even jot a single note in my notebook. Still, I saw a fake Persian palace with great motifs that may show up in a jewelry design one of these days. Down the street was a castle, ditto. And of course there were those vines, laden with black-purple grapes against a sea of green leaves and brown vines. What a color combination! That greyish bloom on the grapes--just Wow.

A few weeks ago we went to the Tut exhibit in San Francisco. I started using carnelian and lapis together as a direct result of that trip. I'm crazy in love with that color combination now, but it wasn't one I'd considered before. Yes, I know all the design rules about using complements, but I didn't FEEL them until Tut. Those Egyptians had design rules down pat.

So if you're feeling like you haven't done much this week as far as design goes, ask yourself what you have been experiencing. It's a part of you, a part of your design background, just as surely as all those days when Glenn was in Canada working and I was juggling kids and their activities at home added up to the relationship we have now.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Getting Serious

It's been a year since I last posted on here, and that was only my second post. I'm not doing so hot on that blogging goal, am I? But in looking at those goal setting entries, I notice I didn't actually SET a goal for blogging. So here goes: 2 posts a week from now until Christmas. More if I can, but for sure 2 posts, whether I'm traveling or tired or sick or pretty much anything but having both arms broken.

The good news is, though, that I found an old list of goals that I'd lost, and I've actually made progress on the path. I do believe that the first step to arriving at your destination is to write down where you want to go. So. 2 posts a week.

I just got a lovely encouraging email from Lora Hart, whose fabulous blog "Such and Such" is one of the few I follow regularly. (Check out ) She suggested that I use the blog as a tool for my design process (in particular for the Metal Clay Masters Registry, which I just signed up for, finally tipped into action by her latest blog post.)

So here's a big thanks to Lora, and a promise to myself. 2 blogs a week, Level 1 Masters Registry sent off by a year from now, and regular dates with myself to work towards all my goals.