Tuesday, August 25, 2009

all things work out

This sentiment hangs over my work bench. I look at it every day. It is taken from an old framed poem that was in my grandfather's workplace in Salem, Ohio (Deming Pump Company) more than fifty years ago. After it left the factory, it went home to my grandfather's next door neighbor and colleague, where it hung on the wall for decades until he went to rest and it was sold at auction. My dad bought it and gave it to me. I've had it for years. The frame is beat up and weathered. The paper is brown and the glass is wavy from the elements but the title says it all. All Things Work Out. And it goes like this:

Because it rains when we wish it wouldn't,
Because men do what they often shouldn't,
Because crops fail and plans go wrong,
Some of us grumble the whole day long;
But somehow in spite of care and doubt,
It seems at last that things work out.

Because we lose where we hope to gain,
Because we suffer a little pain,
Because we must work when we'd like to play,
Some of us whimper along life's way;
But somehow as day must follow the night,
Most of our troubles work out all right.

Because we can not forever smile,
Because we must trudge in the dust a while,
Because we think that the way is long,
Some complain that life is all wrong;
But somehow we live and skies grow bright,
And most things seem to work out all right.

So we'll bend to our troubles and meet our care,
For the cloud must break and the sky grow fair,
Let the rain come down as it must and will,
But we'll keep on working and hoping still;
For, in spite of grumblers who stand about,
Somehow it seems all things work out.

The copper version is in my etsy shop now

But I like the sentiment so much I made a silver version, too, but it's going to be a necklace on etsy tomorrow, unless I can find more thick 14 gauge silver like this one in my stash. I crinkle domed the copper one and distressed it with texture and liver of sulphur, then brush and polish. And there is a copper domed one that is a necklace but I ran out of light before I could take more photos today and post on etsy.

Monday, August 24, 2009

sweet surrender

I made this little pendant with my etching pen on brass. It's kind of hard to see from the photo but in person the words are much more pronounced. It's on etsy now http://jenniferstumpf.etsy.com.

The last few days have been lots of work but mostly the kind of work that contributes to helping pay bills (our piano tuning/restoration business) and not so much working in the studio. I've spent a few hours in there playing with metals. Tomorrow's post will be photos of those finished and on etsy. I've discovered the joys of the dapping block, the big metal set I got about two years ago but had been too intimidated to take the oily block and tools out of the sticky bag, wipe them all off, and use them. Now that I've jumped off the proverbial high dive, I'm sawing out circle after circle and dapping away into some funny shapes that aren't perfect but work with the piece anyway, and some that look much better, more perfect, although I'm trying hard to have more fun and not so much perfection because that only leads me to feel kinda rotten.

I sell books on amazon marketplace. It's some extra income, sometimes more than others, from books I find at yard sales, book sales, thrift shops and so on. A few weeks ago I found three rare Alice Starmore knitting books each for a buck a piece. I about fainted with joy. One in particular, I wanted to keep but put up for sale anyway. Well, I immediately sold the first two to a woman overseas for almost $300 (I told you they were rare). And just when I was bemoaning not going to Beadfest, I got up this past Saturday morning and found I sold the third and most expensive Alice Starmore book (Aran Knitting, for anyone who knows of it). And a dilemma ensued. I suddenly had an unexpected windfall to go to Beadfest on the cheap. Granted, the bag of beads bought with that money, after tolls and gas money, would probably fit in my change purse, but I was sooooo tempted to go anyway 'cause I'm feelin' sorry for myself, like I'm not having much fun these days. Thought about it a little while, decided I would feel better about myself, better about our household, if I stayed my ground and stayed home. And so I did. But, feelin' kind of rotten anyway, although I'm not sure it's really about the bead show, 'cause there's lots of those all the time.

Life is fraught with worry, full of stress. I guess it is for most people. I'm just trying to keep in the moment and concentrate on what I need to do to keep going, keep trying, and not look back so much.

This, a most favorite John Denver song of mine, has been playing in my head for weeks, and it sums up my feelings. Yes, I am a total square. I even saw him in concert twice, God rest his soul. Best concerts I ever saw.

Here are the lyrics...

Lost and alone on some forgotten highway
Travelled by many remembered by few
Lookin for something that I can believe in
Lookin for something that Id like to do with my life

Theres nothin behind me and nothin that ties me
To somethin that might have been true yesterday
Tomorrow is open and right now it seems to be more
Than enough to just be there today

And I dont know what the future is holdin in store
I dont know where Im goin, Im not sure where Ive been
Theres a spirit that guides me, a light that shines for me
My life is worth the livin, I dont need to see the end

Sweet, sweet surrender
Live, live without care
Like a fish in the water
Like a bird in the air.....

Friday, August 21, 2009

Industrial Revolution

Steel Trapeze Necklace.

More and more I am moving away from convention and loving the look of organic materials, many of them found, some of them hardware store finds, paired with simple lovely delicate chains, stones, beads and glass. This new necklace is an example of the direction I am currently enjoying. Now available on http://jenniferstumpf.etsy.com.

I pounded this piece of steel until the animals fled the room and most of my tools fell off my bench and my beads scattered everywhere from the cracks in the floor, behind the door and even nestled in the (clean?) kitty litter box which sets next to my bench. Tiny serrations line the perimeter of the steel. Oh, how I love tools that do special things to add character to a piece. I am dying for some new texturing hammers...

Stick pearl trapeze earrings. Now available in my etsy shop. These pearls literally spin around on this silver wire, so they are fun to play with and pretty, too. Faceted green and yellow aquamarine stones stack under silver and steel wire, with silver ear wires.

Alas, Beadfest is upon us and this grounded girl isn't going to market. I have no will power, and the limits of the bank account to contend with. The fact that I have bags and bags and little containers in six huge bins spilling over with past bead purchases that have not been used and probably largely forgotten, is deterrent enough. In addition to losing ten pounds, I am also determined to rethink how I do my jewelry and that means not attending every bead show within a two hundred plus mile radius every time they come to town and using material found and already purchased instead.

My husband is hard at work in his non air conditioned shop. It was 105 degrees today and it is still hot and extremely muggy now at 8 p.m. I must go check on him now and take him a cool drink, make sure he's not slumped on the floor with heatstroke.

Happy weekend, everyone. Get out of the heat and create something beautiful!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

a few adjustments

Make that, feathers necklace almost finished, from yesterday's post. OCD overcame me and I took the single leather strand off. I tried this necklace on as I had it yesterday and it just didn't lay right. The lone mustard strip was just not enough, weight-wise, to balance out the other side with the heavier (although fine) chain and amethyst strand. It bothered me so much I went to bed mad at myself last night that I couldn't seem to get it right. Grrr....

A new day today, lots to do other than this necklace but into the studio I went and just sat down and went to work. Mango, of course, put in his furry two cents worth... Of course he agreed that mustard was still the color to use. ;)

He's usually on top of whatever I'm working in, not laying on the bookcase when I'm in the middle of jewelry work.

Anyway, instead of just going with more chain and thus jacking up the price, I took the leather off (thus tossing the carefully wrapped silver wire into the recycle bin, which is pretty full to begin with...), cut three more strips off the hide, slid a few lovely mellow yellow lampwork beads onto the slimmer two strands, made a larger wrapped loop, re-attached both ends of all leather strips, and voila! It looks more balanced, is sturdier, and most important, has a very lovely non-droopy drape when worn. Ahhhh.... I feel ever so much better. Now, to get it on Etsy before midnight is the question http://jenniferstumpf.etsy.com. It's getting late and my household is still pretty lively. My husband has classical music booming in the living room where I'm typing this and the television blasting from the bedroom. Mango is dragging a toy mouse on a string around the apartment while howling his head off, and Lucy is on the bed barking for me to come to bed and sit with her (this is her old dog thing. why else would I have anything to do but sit with the Lu on the bed all day long?). How do I think at all?? Plus we have resolved to start walking again instead of coming home or finishing up work and just flopping like we've been doing for months. So we're walking soon as I'm done with this blog entry even though it's 10 pm oh yes we are. I am determined to lose ten pounds before Christmas!

Super cool necklaces coming later mid week. I promise you probably haven't seen anything like them anywhere...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

feathers necklace- finished

We are back from our trip and somewhat back in the groove. This week, other than recuperating from a pretty exhausting whirlwind schedule, I worked this pendant up into a necklace. It's a rather dramatic piece and I wrestled with whether the mustard leather meshed with the rest of the piece but the idea is to pick up one color in the bottom stones. I put it with green leather first, then decided not. Then brown and it was too plain. So I picked the deep yellow hue of the citrine briolette and found a lovely mustard leather to match. Four strands of fine sterling round chain and linked faceted amethyst make this a lovely assymetrical piece.

Isn't the fine silver textured circle to die for? I got a packet of them on etsy a while ago and have been wanting to use them. Look for them and more lovelies at Prolifique on Etsy.

The pendant is hand stamped and edged with texture. The stones dangling from the pendant are stick pearl, citrine, amethyst, watermelon tourmaline (at the bottom), spinel, yellow and green aquamarine.

All chain is sterling with patina. Here is a closer shot of the mustard leather and the chain. For added interest I put in a strand of faceted amethyst.

I'm really pleased with how this turned out. AND I got to sign my name on the back with my new etching pen. I have a hand stamp that I use as well that my husband designed and had custom made but using it on thinner metals causes a shiny spot to appear on the front of the design. Not cool. The etching pen is so useful and fun to work with and it's perfect for signatures on finer metals.

This piece will be available http://jenniferstumpf.etsy.com tomorrow.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hope is the thing with feathers...

This is a pendant I worked up last night. Emily Dickinson, one of my favorite quotes. It'll be on etsy next week when I get back from a five day getaway with my hubby.

Week two of self employment netted a commissioned piece, finished and mailed yesterday. One of these days soon, hopefully, I will stop referring my self employment to "week whatever" and it will simply and seamlessly become my life without time to mark its passage.

I'm working hard on some submissions for magazines and some totally radical designs for necklaces but once I got in my almost finished studio and got to work, the setup just didn't work for me. Everything was in my way and after a day of that it took several days to move things around, arrange tools, silver, copper, beads, wire, and all my book making stuff and fabric so that it wasn't quite so overwhelming. At one point tossing everything into the garbage bin outside seemed a realistic and stress reducing option. Of course I came to my senses.

Off for a few days now with my husband. We need a few days away from crazy, although Michael may think he is taking crazy with him. See you next week with some cool as cucumber salad jewelry to post.

Monday, August 3, 2009

hey, hey, my, my....

hey, hey, my, my... jewelry making hasn't died.

in fact, it's taking off...

because my new job wasn't what i was lead to believe...

and i left after a week...

even with the recession, even with benefits, even with, even with... i left anyway.

should i stay in bed and sleep?

eat junk?


watch the days go on by?


i have a different plan.

i'm now full time making jewelry and coptic bound books (new etsy shop for this passion coming very, very soon...)

day two of my new life is here on this post. four pairs of lovely earrings. go see them on my etsy site http://jenniferstumpf.etsy.com.

happy trails, old jobs.