when last i posted here, or so i hear, it was all the way back in august, when summer was still hovering around the cabin heavy and wistful, full of memory and longing for much more of the same. somehow i managed to put Ornamental off to the side, forgotten and forlorn, and tumbled madly along with the flow of the days that led us directly into fall, and now straight into winter. the solstice is sunday, when sunlight is thin and watery and in short supply... when candles will be lit at dusk and blown out at evening's end. i'd love to spend a full evening sitting right here at the laptop, tapping out accounts of where i've been, what has kept me away, what tasks have been completed, what goals have been met. it's quite late, though - nearly 2am - and sleep is calling my name.
it has, as ever, been a hectic time. it always is, for all of us. and now, here i sit at my creaky old oak table, knowing that if i don't write this post before i head to bed, christmas will swoop in, then new year's, and then i will have gone clear through the end of this year without having stopped by to say hello. hello, old friends. hello.
i haven't made many things for myself, these past few years - the cobbler's children having no shoes, the jeweler wearing no trinkets of her own - but back in the fall, i slowly pulled together a necklace that turned out to be somewhat of a self portrait, and i am so very very very fond of it. there is old leather, a river stone that i carved into a heart, a tiny fold out accordian book from a project many years ago. there is the very first chain that i made, two years ago, out of copper when i took a private soldering class over in tennessee. there is mica, there is old text, there is a thimble with old lace. most importantly, there is a bundle of tendril roots, pulled from the edge of the river, where woods and stone and sand and water meet. i'm not going to show you the entire piece, because it will be featured with other pieces of my work in a designer article of Belle Armoire Jewelry, in their spring issue, out sometime in later winter, i suppose. so, that is a bit of news for you - something of which i am proud to be a part. a couple of months ago, my artist friend delila, from finland, invited me to take a photo of that moment - and here is what was on the table before me, down in the studio. i was pulling bits and pieces together for the article, using some components from unfinished long ago projects that i combined with fresher approaches of mine. how interesting it was for me to see it all together, like that - the old and the new (and all of it old, in a way, as i always use so many antiquated things), hammered and aged and twisted and painted, wire-wrapped and threaded into something that looks completely like my work. old. new. and somewhere in between. i haven't changed all that much. i seem to be consistent in my design, and in my style. and i find great comfort in this - the ability to pull a body of work together and have it be cohesive and unified, like that. a good and solid feeling, i have to say. back in november - i think it was november - i finally, FINALLY sat down and constructed some lengths of chain, from scratch. silver soldered, sterling chain. and oh my goodness, how happy i am with this! from there, i ventured on to set a stone in a bezel on my own. i had done this once before, in the Franklin, Tn. studio of my excellent weekend teacher Nancy Rourke; but that was with her supervision, an oval black stone on a scrap bit of copper, and for two long years, i pined to do it again. i'm still pining, and still fumbling, but i've done a decent job, as you can see above, with the one stone i set with a lovely scalloped edge. and it has actually already sold, to a very wise customer who understands how much that piece has meant to me, how proud i am of my efforts. onward, then - and after christmas, and an early january trip back down to key west for another go at the literary seminar (but NO go at a poetry workshop), i greatly anticipate settling back down at the studio table to focus on more chain, more bezels, more pieces of new and old ornamental history. i can't wrap up this post without mentioning how lovely the thanksgiving holiday was for me here, at Heartrock Hill. my mother and her corgi were here, as well as both boys, and the wonderful girlfriend that roy has been dating for three years. and finally, my dearest friend julie, who has spent the past three thanksgivings with my family, came down from ohio and managed - when i became quite ill - to clean and orchestrate and cook for all six of us, including the entire thanksgiving feast. she put sheets on the beds, inflated the air mattresses, ran errands, walked walter, cooked, cooked, cooked, and cleaned up the kitchen afterwards. there was a little oven fire - i laugh out loud as i write those words - and a lot of laughter and storytelling, a good bit of spirits, and a whole lot of love. i have the best friend in the whole world, and the best boys, and the best, best, best mama that anyone could ever be blessed enough to have. it was grand, in spite of how puny i felt. absolutely grand. and walter was worn out from it all.
now, here we are, smack dab in the middle of the holiday season. as i said, from summer, to autumn, to now. we had snow here on thanksgiving morning, and lots of frosty mornings, and any day now i expect the heavier snows to roll up over the mountains to the west. i wanted to mention that there are all of five necklaces in my etsy shop - and that i'm offering for the next two days, a discount of 20% to my ornamental readers (use the code ORNA20 in the place where you are asked if you have a gift card or discount code). after friday evening, i'll be closing the shop for the rest of the holidays, and reopening sometime in the early part of january, when things are quieter and we can take a slow breath without gasping for another right behind. i wanted to take a moment - at 1:45 a.m., actually - to wish all of you a lovely time with family and friends, whether it be there in your homes or off on adventures, or even if you - like i, most of the time - are alone and quiet in some deep, dark glen of the winter woods, sitting in front of a fire, reading or working quietly with your hands. i wish you peace and calm and quiet pockets of time. i wish you clarity in the months ahead. i wish you love. i wish you grace. and i thank you for being here still, even when i have not been present for such long and crazy stretches of delinquent time. bless you all. xo