Signing Your Artwork

Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn’t matter. The intent does.

Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.
— Seth Godin, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

After 10 years of working hard at my craft of art jewelry, I am ready to own it, take responsibility for it, and state my intention of what I hope it offers those that choose to wear it. 

I was talking to my new neighbor, a fabulous teacher (I can just tell that she is) about how each one of us has our own particular genius. We can only find out what that is once we drop this idea of trying so hard to 'fit it' with the rest of the herd.

I call it individuation. 

Jewelry says a lot, wordlessly, about the wearer.

I am hoping that those of you that want to wear what I make, are interested in showing the world how fabulous it is to be who you are. And the gifts that individuating from those that are compelled to fit in, are so much more fulfilling than stressing about deadening yourself to fit into the homogenized idea of existence that our culture, in a large part, pretends to be important.

I believe fitting in, in most respects, means ignoring and/or devaluing who you are.

My intention is that my jewelry assists your own process of individuating into the precious gem that you are.  And that is the direction I am going with my work.

What does this mean?

I will be doing more one-of-a-kind pieces.  I will be releasing these designs in small batches. And after that, they will be gone.  

I have a few places that sell my work currently, and those places are currently low or out of inventory.  I don't know if I will be adding anymore brick and mortar shops to my stockist list or not yet. I'm going to let that part of my business work itself out. 

The direction I am currently moving has a lot to do with themes found in our environment. And I am enamored with metal stamps...those that form words and those that don't. 

Since I have been here in my new home, I have been immersed in my own natural environment. I have finally gotten my studio set up, but there have been some issues that I've had to concentrate on to really get it up and going.

 There have been delays...and the delays, in large part, have come from the friends and family that are visiting us after so many years of living in spaces that were not big enough to welcome them. 

They have been welcomed...and Shayne and I are living in a much more expanded way. It's been wonderful!

The earrings above were made for one of those dear friends that have visited us. Deb and I sailed together 20-something years ago in Alaska and Mexico, and Deb introduced me to the wonders of beading while I was visiting her at her home in Seattle. 

My stamp arrived while she was here last week...and as serendipity works, she is the first person to own a piece of my jewelry that I have now stamped with my name. 

These earrings were made for a wedding she will be attending...and we incorporated a lot of meaning into them. Where two or more are gathered, there is that third presence too. That is symbolized with the gray pearl. 

When two people combine their lives together, there is a co-mingling that I am very familiar with, having been with Shayne now for over 20 years. We share so many things...but the one thing that we both are understanding in a very visceral way is the importance of continuing to individuate even though we are always with each other. 

Marriage is a great teacher to those of us that embark upon this path towards knowing ourselves.  For a living relationship to reach its fullest potential, the two people involved must follow what they love to do irregardless if the other person chooses to do it or not. A relationship must breathe. We each go out into the world, have our own unique experiences and then bring that back into the relationship where that third presence exists. 

That third presence needs new experiences too...it needs to continue its own mutation into something different that the two individuals bring to it. 

It can't happen if both people just want to be the same.  Having the same core values provides a stable foundation for the relationship, but this idea that marriage means you are just like the other person will usually kill a marriage. I've known many people that stayed in their own dead relationships for the sake of the relationship, or out of fear that they can't make it on their own; but in the process, they extinguished the light that used to glow within them. 

That is too high of a price for me. 

I am finding that my marriage is a coming together and a moving apart that resembles breathing.  I encourage and support what it takes to fill Shayne up and he does the same with me. Only then can we share what fills us up with each other...and we are changed, which is necessary for own growth.

So, I am signing my work. I am owning my voice. I am stating my intention. 

 

Be...who you are. Do...what you love.

XO!

 

 

 

 

 

Embracing your shift

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.
— Steve Jobs

I'm often asked how I come up with new designs and I identify with a certain feeling of guilt that I really don't know how I do it. 

I am wired in such a way that I try to make sense of all the stories I find myself in throughout my day...the day I made these Eyeglass earrings I was focused on looking back to a moment in my life, when I was around 12 or so, when I was fitted with contact lenses for the first time. 

I ditched my glasses so that I could have peripheral vision again. 

My early childhood is rich in memories of being in nature because of my penchant for trying to see my world from every perspective I had access to. 

I clearly remember spending hours on the ground in our backyard, imagining life from the perspective of what I used to call the Roly Poly, or the Pill bug. These little creatures would transform into a ball when disturbed, and I was a master at disturbing them. 

I was gifted with time as a child to do...nothing structured.  

Lots of time spent outdoors, investigating the world as it presented itself to me afforded me the freedom to 'see' life from all angles. I climbed trees and learned on a cellular level what it means to take the 'higher perspective'.

It's timeless up there. I was able to see both sides of an outcome in real time.

My cat, Sylvester, was an expert hunter. One afternoon, sitting in my favorite tree, I watched him stalk a field mouse.

I could see Sylvester deliberately stay out of the mouse's line of sight while watching the mouse do its little mouse things.

I could see from this perspective of height the trajectory of both Sylvester's actions and the ultimate fate of the mouse. 

The mouse never saw it coming. He never had a chance, really...my cat understood his limited perspective and took advantage of it to secure a fresh meal. 

Learning how to see your life from a higher perspective allows you to perceive and 'see' your own blind spots.  

You 'see' your life from all angles and aren't as likely to get pounced upon by someone or something that takes advantage of your blind spots. 

But to live all of the time from the higher perspective means you don't get to engage in the drama of life. 

And learning in real time happens on earth, not in the heavens.

So before I was able to master climbing trees without falling out of them, I spent a lot time on the ground. 

Literally. 

We had a back porch and the Roly Polies were prolific. I would spend hours on my stomach, stretched out, looking at the world via the perspective of those little balls of buggy life. 

I learned how to focus by doing that.

It was consuming.

Their way of sensing the world is via vibration and touch. I don't even know if they have eyes...but they continually bump into things and if the vibe is wrong, they roll up in a protective, shell-encased ball.  

While they are rolled up, they are moved by outside forces...in this case, it was me. I would flick them to and fro, playing with them as if they were marbles. 

Roly Poly bugs are reactive. I learned that if we are reactive all of the time, rolling into a protective ball at the slightest provocation, that life will flick us to and fro.

Direction is left to fate, or the wind, or the playful flick of a 5 year-old child with nothing but time on her hands. 

Two different perspectives...as different as night and day.

Duality.

The game we are here to play, I believe, is all about the gray. The play of light and shadow. 

All the angles in between heaven and earth are our playground, our learning environment.

Real creativity is the ability to continuously shift our outer/inner sight from earth to heaven.

All those perspectives have something important to teach us and how we mix and mingle them on a daily basis is what living creatively is all about to my thinking. 

I like where we live because I see kids outside, sometimes doing nothing but watching the world like I did as a child. 

If we want to instill more creativity in children, they need unstructured time to play with shifting their sight. They need the natural world to teach them how to 'see'. 

Schools and day care centers and the like can't teach this seeing.

Nothing structured can.

It requires one to leave behind the ways of encasing and enclosing an experience and instead, allowing an exchange to happen that is right for the individual being to occur in the natural world. 

The world is outside, and it's perfect. 

These Eyeglass Earrings are ready to ship. Cost $65.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Things I Adore About My New Home

We are loving our new home and I thought I would share with you the top 10 things I love about where I rest my head at night...

  1. Wall Space: I have so much wall space now to display all the art I want to continue collecting. The first thing I am doing, however, is painting all the walls wonderful colors from Sherwin Williams Traditional Twist palette. It makes picking coordinating colors so fun and relatively painless. And...they have 1 quart samples for $5! Try before you completely commit! Awesome!
  2. Deer: We have about .5 acre of land that fronts a creek. And the deer have an enchanting glade where they play, eat and sleep. I watch them several times per week, and realize that I may never have an immense garden since my efforts would most likely go towards providing them with a buffet. But we have lots of organic farms around here that I will support instead, and my yard work will be taken up with wildlife watching instead. I'm cool with that....
  3. Wood Floors with Personality: Our new house is about 60 years old, and our floors have settled into some small hills and valleys. It reminds me of my youth spent onboard small ships...sometimes I feel like I am at sea with the wonkiness, but that is such a nice touchstone to my past experiences living on the water.  At least that is how I prefer to spin this...
  4. Two Guest Bedrooms: We have two guest bedrooms with Queen beds. What a luxury to have plenty of space for my cherished friends and family to stay in when they visit. This was sooooo important to me. I wanted to make sure I could provide a comfortable place for anyone that visits us...and two guest bedrooms was such a fantastic surprise. They are pretty barebones right now, but I am so excited to turn them into small sanctuaries. Total bonus!
  5. My neighbors: During our first week, we were invited to a neighborhood Christmas party and I can't tell you how much this thrilled us. We were gifted with a loaf of amazing bread baked by a local bakery on day 2 from another neighbor and just a few nights ago, I was invited to a girls' night by my next door neighbor. I am undone by the incredible goodwill that has been shown to us during our first few weeks here. Our neighborhood is wonderful. We have an older gentleman that pushes our trash and recycling cans back into place after the trucks come...truly old school and I love it!
  6. Screened in Porch: Off to the side of our home is a screened in porch with a built in wood grill. It is perched up high, giving us a stunning view of our backyard. There is so much I want to do with this magical space that allows bug-free enjoyment of our abode. It's where I watch the deer play and where I go to catch my breath from working on getting things done here. 
  7. My Studio Space: It looks like I will have about 200 sq. ft. for my new studio downstairs and I haven't even begun to unpack it yet. But I know I am going to love working down there.  The separation of space was critical to me working from home, and with Shayne working upstairs, I know that we can both work without disturbing the other. So important and I am so grateful for the space to really stretch out my creative efforts. 
  8. My stove: Our home has an original Frigidaire Flair stove that came out in the 1960's. If you are a Bewitched fan, this stove was a pale yellow and I believe, a true work of functional art. I have now cooked two big meals on it (Thanksgiving and Christmas) and I can't imagine wanting anything new since this beast is just tops. I love it...and can't wait to continue cooking with it as it is also a great conversation piece during dinners with others. 
  9. Coffee Bar: A dedicated space for our coffee and tea obsession. It feels so decadent to have a such a space...and my mother-in-law bought us a top-notch expresso machine that makes superb lattes' and expresso.
  10. Space to grow into: Shayne and I have lived so small for 18 out of the 20 years we have been together. We now have about 2700 sq. ft. to grow into, and explore what we both want to creatively. He has a huge shop with a screened in back so he can work in the garage but still have this amazing view of our park-like back yard. I have a HUGE studio space to continue exploring metal and perhaps even painting too...we have two living rooms, one that faces the kitchen which is fantastic when people are here and we are cooking, as well as a TV room and a more formal dining room. I think I love this house so much because it has the space necessary to truly enjoy the company of others, too. All of these years of traveling and staying with our friends has been amazing, but now, we are in a position to be that place where you love to go and visit. 

I feel so grateful that we have found such a home here...and all of our experiences with the people that call Roanoke home have been incredibly warm and inviting. Life is such a precious thing when you let it live itself through you. 

I am so happy I responded with a big YES to Roanoke...and can't wait to see what 2016 brings to us as we settle into our new home. 

Happy New Year everyone! 

XO!

My Joy of Teaching

True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.
— Nikos Kazantzakis

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sharing what I know about soldering with Linda, a warm and wonderful soul from Tennessee. 

She was the last student in my studio, and I am so excited for her as she starts out her own journey with shaping metal into wearable art. 

I remember when I first learned how to solder. Years ago, Mary Helen, my studio partner in Chattanooga, and I bought a propane plumber's torch with a huge head from the local hardware store. We went down into the basement of the old bank building where our studio was located, and found Pops-- a big and burly man, who was the building's handyman. 

Pops walked us through the process of attaching the gas canister to the torch head and how to light the thing. Then we proceeded upstairs to our space and promptly began our experimentation into soldering. Back then, there weren't as many videos and books available to the novice metal manglers as there are now, and we were pretty much on our own to learn the finesse required when applying lots of heat to metal and hoping for something exciting to happen. 

It helps to have a buddy when learning something new. I hemmed and hawed for months before I was brave enough to give it a go. And I was talked into it by Mary Helen, a fearless artist turned compassionate healer, not having the confidence to approach it on my own at that stage of my artistic development. 

Every time I share what I have learned with someone, I grow so much within the interaction itself.  Teaching forces you to slow down, and appreciate what you already know. In the slowing down, a space opens up within you that allows wonder and awe to enter again. I love that feeling..it's the feeling that drove me to explore making metal jewelry in the first place.

Over the past year, I opened up my studio to those that needed a short term buddy to witness their growth and understanding of the medium. We didn't really work too much on a take home project during these one-on-one interludes into the practical application of tools and supplies. It really was more of a confidence booster, a try-before-you buy sort of experience. 

I really loved it. 

Monica, another student that came in, allowed me to witness her ideas about combining metal with wood.  I know metal, and she knows wood. It was a fantastic collaborative experience that allowed me to learn something brand new to me. She was already on her way to great things artistically, but needed a little help to get her idea actualized. 

I like being that chirpy bird that is hanging out just outside of the nest yelling, "Jump! Flap your wings! The weather is fine out here!" to those that are ready to leap out into the great unknown. 

I see that more as my role rather than doing videos and such. I was approached by a company that wanted me to do videos this year and at first, I was gung-ho and excited for the 'opportunity'. But after a few weeks into the project, I changed my mind and declined.

I pulled the plug on that because I want to share physical space with those that need a push out of their comfort zone. That was a big realization for me...and although I know it would have been a nice 'feather in my cap', I'd rather keep flapping my wings to my own beat.  Besides, since I was true to myself, my bowing out opened up a space for someone else that was truly aligned to expressing themselves in that particular way. 

Win-win, and that teaching energy spreads out in the correct way for all those involved. 

My tag line has changed to Be...Who You Are. From here on out, I will be exploring just what that means in relation to my evolution as an artist and person.  Knowing that I need to share physical space with those that I chirp to about making jewelry was one important realization that I made this year about my own next steps. 

I have no idea how this will end up playing out. Maybe it means I will start applying for teaching opportunities around the country or try and teach out of my next studio on a small scale. I've no idea...but I'm excited about the possibilities and how it will all unfold. 

Now that Shayne and I will have a reliable and fixed place to rest our heads, planning for things becomes a lot easier.  Another perk to having a home. 

I want to close out with these nice words from my last student...and to say thank you to all those that came through our studio door this year. You all taught me so much...and I am so happy that you found your own wings and are flying around, making beautiful things that come from your own experiences and heart space. That is what I want most for those that cross my path...

Be....who you are. 


I recently had the privilege of taking a private lesson with Stacie at her Asheville, NC studio. Living in Knoxville, TN and having recently retired I knew that I wanted to follow my dream of creating art jewelry. After an extensive research of private metalsmith teachers in my area to no avail I happened upon the website of Stacie Florer. I was instantly impressed and could feel her passion for the art and teaching. She phoned me promptly after an email inquiry and we had a wonderful discussion about my goals and the techniques that I was particularly interested in. After talking with her I instantly felt a connection and new since of energy.

The day of my class finally arrived. I was so anxious and a little nervous. The moment we met all of my nerves were calmed. She just beams with personality and a since of calmness. She had already organized materials, supplies and equipment prior to the lesson. She talked about the importance of setting a calm work environment and more importantly working safely. She explained and demonstrated each technique in a clear and concise manner making sure I understood before moving on. When I got frustrated and my hands wouldn’t do what they were supposed to she calmly would show me how to tweak my technique to make it easier. The lesson went by so quickly and I didn’t want it to end. I truly had one of the best days and left so full of renewed energy and excitement. I knew with confidence that I could take what I learned that day and start creating. Stacie makes all the class notes so you only have to concentrate on learning. The next day I received an email with a comprehensive list of all of the techniques I learned, tools and equipment used and list of vendors.

It is clear that Stacie has not only the artistic talent but a passion for teaching others. I can’t wait until I need another lesson even if it does mean driving a little further to Roanoke.
— Linda Reed, Knoxville, TN

Finally, a home to call our own.

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.
— Edith Sitwell
Basket by Diane McEachen, Asheville, NC

Basket by Diane McEachen, Asheville, NC

Shayne and I are busily packing up what little we have left after tens of moves over the past 10 years. 

We close on our new home on Tuesday and we are over the moon excited about this next stage in our life. 

I have friends and family scheduled to visit us all the way through the holiday season, and will most likely not be setting up my studio for quite some time. 

I want to take my time to feather my new nest this winter, and spend some much needed time with Shayne and Sadie. I've been absent this last year working hard in the River Arts District, chasing a dream about being a full-time artist in Asheville.

My studio was my home this year. I learned a lot about myself having a public studio and I came to the conclusion that I need to work alone, and that was really surprising to me. 

If you have ever met me in person, I hope you know that I LOVE people. I love sharing whatever I can with whomever is interested. I loved my studio partner Jessica. She's the little sister I never had, and she is so smart and talented as an artist, that I was just in awe of her energy and her ideas. 

But when it comes to my own creative need to express my ideas and life in metal, I need to be alone. My process requires aloneness, and that was hard to find with a studio open to the public.  I was usually too exhausted to apply my creative focus on my work after interacting with all the amazing people that came into our space, and my production and design work suffered for it. 

And about 6 months ago, Shayne and I came to the painful conclusion that Asheville wasn't right for us. We wanted it to be right. So much so that we were heartbroken when a conversation happened up on the Parkway that revealed it wasn't right for us. We both knew it, but had avoided talking about it. We wanted those feelings to go away..hoping for an unspoken but wished for miracle that would change our feelings about it. 

But it never happened. 

So, we bought a house somewhere we have never been. Crazy, right? 

After all this roaming around, for years, YEARS, we end up someplace that was never on our radar, never interested us before, and here we are. 

A home finally to call our own. A place where friends and family can come and stay comfortably ( we have 2 guest bedrooms!) and where Shayne and I will have plenty of room to spread out and work on our passions. 

I am so ready and so open to the big shift that is about to occur. I am also excited about being alone again with my work and I want to write more here, too. I have been spending my non-packing time sprucing things up around here, and I've opened a new account on Instagram specifically for my jewelry world. 

We move in our new home next week. As soon as I can, I will share pictures of the new place, and will be doing a lot of DIY type posts as I shift into this new way of living...permanency is so foreign to us as it relates to a home. 

But we are so ready...have a great week, and I will be updating my Instagram feed as this week goes on with some thoughts about the designs that I did come up with this last year. Lots of seeds were planted in that lovely studio in the River Arts District, and now its time to nurture them and see where they root. 

XO!

 

 

 

 

 

A co-creative friendship

Real friendship or love is not manufactured or achieved by an act of will or intention. Friendship is always an act of recognition.
— John O'Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

I received a text yesterday from Jessica, "it seems so weird that you aren't in the studio anymore," as I had packed up everything on Saturday, and am no longer there.

It is weird. All day yesterday I had to fight the urge to run to the studio to work out a new design that is percolating just under the surface.

I have no place to go right now, other than here and within.

In my life's journeying, I alternate from being so deeply involved with life that I don't have time to process it until I step out of it.

Then I enter a period of reflection and quietly internalize the experiences I have had so that I can continue to carry the lessons and the insights with me into my next immersive experience.

Sometimes the immersion lasts a couple of years, other time a few months, but the process is the same.  

One of the great things about having a lot of years behind you is you begin to see your personal patterns. 

This happens to be mine.

The last year has been incredible for so many reasons, and I will slowly unpack them here as I enter my reflection time. 

Today I want to give thanks, though, for a deep sister-friendship that was born here in this creative sanctuary that we both built. 

We merged our visions together and built a space that recognized and appreciated our differences and valued our similarities as a bridge to a deep friendship.

Our jewelry styles are so radically different, but we both were able to take our differences and learn and grow from what came easily for the other.  

It was heaven. I am grateful and I will miss my friend as we both head in different directions with our lives as well as with our creative output. 

But as with all great friendships, we don't have to be in the same physical space to continue our growth and share in our triumphs. 

There is texting and travel!

This pendant was from our first class project where we combined our styles into one piece. It really says it all, doesn't it?

Love binds us all together. 

We are love. We just have to get out of our own way and BE who we are. 

The rest takes care of itself.