Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ah, Jewelry, I remember you...

As it turns out, carving out the time to work while traveling is a LOT harder than I ever imagined. Or, rather, it's a lot harder to prioritize my time so that jewelry-making gets an equal share (it's just so easy for the studio time to get squeezed out, in favor of cycling and exploring new towns and talking to people and connecting with our homestay hosts and relaxing in those few moments we get).

And now that it's officially winter all around us, I have to contend with the cold factor too. A few days ago, we planned a rest day at a state park. 'Great!' I thought, 'I can get some work done on these pendant ideas that have been floating around in my head for weeks.' And then it rained. All freakin' day. And at about 2pm, it was a whopping 38 degrees outside. Not exactly conducive to setting up shop at a picnic table.

So, what can I say but that I'm a bit frustrated by the situation and I'm still trying to figure it all out.

Which brings me to something that I have been able to do... drumroll please...

This pendant was a small idea that kept popping up and rolling around my head for weeks, in different combinations, until finally it made sense one day (I love when that happens!). And I scored enough downtime in Tucson to finish it up. It's made of sterling silver, copper, and bicycle inner tube. And the idea is to bring together all of the inspiration of the desert that we've been riding through for the past many weeks... vast, brown hills and skies full of stars.

The pendant itself is way too heavy, especially with this small chain (which is the only kind of chain I have with me right now), but I wanted to show it off. Especially since finishing this pendant started my head buzzing with smaller, lighter, more wearable variations of this design. So, whenever I can finally carve out the necessary time, I've got a whole desert series to work on.


All of this brings me to my next great idea... collaboration! One of the other things that I have wanted to do while traveling is connect with other jewelry and metal artists around the US. I have done an absolutely crappy job of this so far, so I'm really trying hard to make it more of a priority. What I'm thinking so far is this... What if I could connect with other artists in various parts of the US, as we travel through, and spend a couple days sharing ideas and studio space? It could mean working together on some sort of collaborative finished product or using the opportunity to learn (together) about some new skill or just spend the time swapping tips and suggestions. Or any number of other ideas that I haven't made their way into my head yet.

Interested? Our rough route for the next few weeks is as follows... Alamogordo, New Mexico... Marfa, Texas... Big Bend State Park... Texas Gulf Coast... San Antonio... Austin... Ft. Worth... New Orleans... then on to the East Coast somehow and then North and then back toward the West Coast. If you're along that route, or near that route, or think we should make our route go through your neck of the woods... and you want to work on some sort of collaborative something... let me know (email: tangerinetreehouse AT gmail DOT com). I'm excited just thinking about the idea, so we could start brainstorming today. :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

What Happened to my Twitter...

Many moons ago, I was convinced by several someones that I really needed to start up a Twitter account. Not only would it be good for promoting my jewelry, it would help me connect with people, and I could then be a part of a brewing, top-secret plan. I hemmed and hawed for a long time, thinking about whether I really wanted to delve into this new media, what my feelings were about Twitter and the way that it enables connection... and I ended up caving in and opening an account. (I even had a small contest to help me figure out what to do with my name.)

After just a few short weeks, I gave up with Twitter. It felt utterly pointless to me. It felt like I wasn't doing anything but re-post what I'd already said somewhere else. Perhaps the audience was a bit new, but the content wasn't, and I ended up feeling like I was just putting out a stream of commercials (and, at that, commercials that I wasn't really sure anyone wanted to pay attention to).

Several months have now passed since I gave up on Twitter, and I feel guilty a lot about it, especially since I had such great help in finding a Twitter name. Did I not give it enough of a chance? Should I try again?

This morning, I read a great article about Stock & Flow (found through Megan's new CraftMBA site). The gist of it is that Stock is what we produce that has long-standing value, while Flow is the stuff we put out of a more temporary nature. Stock is the jewelry, while Flow is the blog. And there is a great string of comments after the article about how we've become overly adept at Flow, bogging ourselves down with all this temporary stuff, while not producing enough Stock to keep people around for a long time. As a result, everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame, and then they're totally forgotten. (I really recommend the article!)

And, suddenly, in reading the comments, it hit me why I really gave up on Twitter... It's an overflow of Flow. Because I don't quite understand Twitter enough and haven't become creative enough with it to use it in a way to keep people around longer, I only know how to put out the sort of drivel that doesn't add anything to the greater conversation.

Which isn't to say that Twitter is at fault. I think there are ways to use Twitter to great effect, i.e. when Russ tweets for @PathLessPedaled (our bicycle journey), which works because (often) there's a point beyond just driving folks to the website.

Anyway, this is a big rambling, round-about way of saying that I've finally figured out how to make peace with quitting Twitter. If you've been following me, wondering when I'll start babbling again, you can officially un-follow me. But, thanks for your support!

And I'm excited to have words for this nagging feeling I've had lately that I need to create more depth in my blog and my work, something more substantial that holds up over time.

Take a few minutes to scoot over to Robin's article. (Thanks Megan for pointing me to it!)