Just a reminder that I’ve switched over to Blogger.  Here’s the link to my new post.

blessings – kvk

The breaking part here is that, after months of frustration with WordPress, I’m switching blogging platforms and heading over to Blogger.  Click here for the new blog.  I never could figure out so much of how WordPress works and, as part of my New Year’s resolution for ditching annoying things, I decided it was time to move.

So head on over to the new blog and see what’s happening – which is lots!  And click here to see the Small Miracles Talisman for Haiti.

blessings dear ones – kvk

Hop on for a link excursion.  I’ve been saving up for a bit, so there’s quite a few …….

designgrijs, exquisite minimalism;  simply olive, tons of great links, also beautifully minimal

businesswomenwise marketing, some interesting ideas to peruse

empowering womenwomen on the edge of evolution, weekly series of inspiring topics and speakers

~ a musical interlude … an old favorite Tanita Tikaram

painting and mixed mediadaniella woolf, gorgeous encaustics (this might be a rerun, but such beautiful work);  alexandra abraham, lush mixed media painting and jewelry

jewelry obsessed18kt, spanish jewelry blog;  designing divas, will keep me busy for months

jewelry makers – you’ll notice some commonality here,  work that is traveling a similar path, hence my challenge to not be derivative and stay true to my heart and deep inner voice …  botticelli’s niece,   nightingale jewelry,   scoshanyc.

~ musical interlude no.2 – fairly new FeverRay video – love the palette and imagery

And here’s a special KVK health note…  being the season of clogged heads and sinus ills, I’d like to share my sure-fire cure for de-gunking, dubbed for the time being as my concoction:  1/4 – 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar (ACV), unfiltered and ‘with the mother’ – I use Braggs; about 3/4 tsp of baking soda to cut the acid; 1/4 tsp (2 capsules) true cinnamon; a bit of sweetener if needed – I use a few drops of stevia extract, honey’s delish, but I don’t want the sugar; add water to make 1 quart.  Drink through the day.  I’ll drink a couple of batches if my head is really clogged.  A couple of notes – make sure to mix the vinegar and baking soda in a large enough container so you don’t get a mini volcano; there’s quite a bit of on-line info about all the wonders of ACV and cinnamon – they’re both supposed to be help the body process sugar.  It’s not an original idea or recipe by any means, but it’s proved pretty amazing.

Phew!  I’m better now.  Okay, one more video to share.  Garmarna’s decidedly different take on Hildegard von Bingen:

love that Nordic groove

many blessings – kvk

just a quickie FYI … On Monday, my Etsy shop is going on vacation for a bit.  Everything on there will either get sent to AOT or get disassembled or reworked or recycled.  Time to reassess and revamp and renew.

I’ll be back tomorrow or Monday to respond to comments and post some new tasty links – got some good ones!

ciao for now beloveds

blessings – kvk

Lord mercy – it’s New Year’s Eve!  So appropriate that the last few nights I’ve gone to bed with my mind swirling about new directions and my ongoing efforts in the world of fearless creating.

This week’s challenge:  pay attention to all the little things that normally go ignored – you know things that don’t ring true, those little niggling annoyances, or maybe not so little – but pay attention to them and, if possible, actually do something about them.  This got me thinking about my website …….

So yesterday I decided to soften up the header on my website.  This is in the niggling little thing category.  I’m slightly obsessed with fonts and can easily spend hours (and I do mean hours) looking at and downloading fonts – a girl can never have too many fonts.  (my two favorite font sites are DaFont and Fontasy)   Danielle from WhiteHotTruth is all gung-ho about Helvetica.  I tried to go there, but it turns out I’m a serif kind of girl.  My initial re-vamp of the header had Baskerville Old Face Caps and good old Times New Roman for everything else (except my KVK icon).  I always revert back to T.N.R.  So yesterday, I decided that the edges of Baskerville were a bit too sharp – et voila’, now transformed to Oldstyle.  A wee thing maybe, but I really do believe that “God is in the details” (thank you Mies van der Rohe).  For you font geeks, here’s a fun quiz from a segment of the PBS program Independent Lens – What Font Are You? And guess what …  I’m Times New Roman – color me surprised!

An integral part in the quest of fearless creating and staying authentic is making a concerted effort to ditch anything in my life that feels derivative, where have concessions been made, jettison anything in my surroundings that I’ve held onto for some long forgotten reason that no longer speaks to me.  Also, what can I do to support and uplift my self-image?

Attack implementation thus far……

  • our families were very generous with Amazon and Barnes & Noble gift certificates.  I’m in the market for inspiration and already ordered a pile of books off of my wish list.  I did well in the used books and even found a couple of close-out deals – who knew that Amazon had close-outs?  Not me.  So I’ve got a whole stack of books on ethnic and ancient jewelry, a couple on contemporary fashion designers and a couple interior design eye candy treasures – all OTW in the next week or so – yippee!  Look for specifics when the treasure trove arrives.
  • today we joined the YMCA – I absolutely cannot wait to get back to some yoga classes.
  • switching back to a low-glycemic diet.  So long simple carbohydrates.  We’ve been doing this for a while, but of course the holidays wreck havoc with good eating habits.  Being back on track is a relief.
  • we’ve got vision insurance with Dave’s new job, so next week I’m making an eye appointment.  Here are the glasses I’m wanting.  I had some similar Ray Bans in black a few years ago.  I’ve always loved horn-rims, kind of ties in with my old fashioned fonts.

  • through the years I’ve been prone to doing ‘my version’ of popular trends.  I want that to stop now and forever more.  This one will be a process for sure.
  • pay attention to things in my life that are there because I listened to someone else rather than my own inner voice then adjust accordingly.

It’s been an interesting year (ya think?) and Christmas was no different.  I think I mentioned making talismans for some people that are being helped by an outreach program of my brother’s church in Nashville.  Chuck was released from maximum security into the world on December 22nd, no parole, no caveats – just a check for $75 that he couldn’t cash because all he had was his prison ID.  Seems like he’s got a whole team of angels, earthly and heavenly, working for him and a string of small miracles falling into place to get his life sorted out.  Apparently, the cross I made for him made a powerful impression.  I got to talk to him on Christmas Eve … that made quite an impression on me – I don’t know many convicted felons. Chuck’s cross is pretty straightforward, with LGLG and his initials stamped on the back; the blessing is “change my thoughts, change my life” … it’s already working.

Christmas talismans

The three matching talismans I dubbed the  ‘Miracle’ Talisman went to three new moms at a home called Wendy’s Place.  The silver medallion is stamped with a hummingbird, a symbol for life’s little everyday miracles, embedded in the side a faceted ruby as a reminder to stay heart centered and stamped in the back ‘LGLG’ for let go let god; beach glass for life’s unexpected gifts; the blessing, “dream it, believe it, live it” on bronze silk lashed with rose silk, a mustard seed for faith and a fenugreek seed to honor one’s past, nestled within.  The ladies were equally thrilled with their new pendants.

Such a powerful gift for me as well.

So, that’s where I am on this last day of the year, this decade, this blue moon of a New Year’s Eve … with so much gratitude for the road I’ve traveled thus far, so much excitement and anticipation for the road ahead.

be well, be safe

blessings and thank you – kvk

Barbara ‘Basha Beads’ Metzger has several pieces listed on her Etsy site – a rare opportunity………..

be well – kvk

Years ago, my ongoing theme was ‘vestiges of an imagined history’.  The following is an old journal entry that, for some reason I was compelled to include in one of my rubber stamp sheets.

“unlocking the mythology of my soul finding and releasing the pagan priestess locked within the flesh of this pasty white anglo saxon body scraping through the layers of cheap Danish modern furniture suburbia and the absolute absence of meaningful conversation that was my youth rhinestones and Lillian and poodles and milquetoast americana looking for my inner self in library stacks disappearing into Byzantium the dark ages and the early renaissance losing myself in fantasy novels and things that might have been looking for ways to create things out of time creating my own cultural heritage since the real one doesn’t seem to fit”

I didn’t come from a super eccentric family, there were no high achievers or spectacular role models and for years felt it was an almost unbearable uphill battle to be a ‘true artist’.  Mine is a middle class, middle of the road family with roots in the rural deep south.  I grew up feeling like an outsider, not fitting in, not too many friends.   My poor mom – she didn’t have a clue what to do with me.  I can look back now and see the unhappy disconnect that was a pervasive theme in my life.  I had yet to discover that all those urges and dreams and longings weren’t about an imagined history, just one that had been temporarily forgotten.

I do still love the work I created during my disconnected years.  Lots of production work, but my favorite pieces are always the ones that were inspired by the Middle Ages – you know that imagined history …

jeweled pendant '02 or '03

matching jeweled earrings

I did a three piece series for an ArtFest workshop that never happened.  The Faerie Godmother’s accoutrements – a wand, tiara and book of wisdom.

Faerie Godmother's Wand

Her Tiara

Faerie Godmother's Book of Wisdom

I loved this little book.  Especially the angel on the back.

full view

Sadly, the book was stolen from my table at the 2004 ArtFest Vendor Night.  I often wonder who has it and how that person feels about stolen property.  I have to trust in karmic debt on this one.

I spent many years bemoaning my unadorned history;  it never occurred to me to embrace and celebrate it.  Today, the disconnect has all but dissolved; what felt like a crazy puzzle with missing pieces, is sorting itself out.  All those seemingly mixed up pieces have been laid flat and they do indeed all fit together … beautifully.  My ongoing series of work has been renamed – ‘vestiges of a forgotten history’ – I just chalk up all my different personas to bits of past lives bubbling up in my subconscious.

And always a favorite pastime …  I love to look for things that challenge my skills and my perspective … much more productive than whining about what never happened.  Here’s a couple of more recent additions to the Vestiges series …

labradorite faceted cubes with 22k accent

And a jewel encrusted cross that I gave to my sister …

Shirley's cross

And a tiny box I made for an exhibition.  I love boxes, especially tiny ones.  This one has reduction frit embedded into the edges and the top knob is beach glass.

Faerie Box

Periodically things come into my life that make me uncomfortable, fiction or biographies or blog-posts that challenge my sensibilities, artistically and life in general.

A recent opportunity …..  The current issue of Selvedge has an article about J Morgan Puett and her Mildred’s Lane project.  Here’s a highly intelligent woman, deeply passionate, living and breathing creativity from every pore.  The descriptions of her surroundings and collected objects are from the strangely compelling department – “the stairs designed in an algorithmic pattern based on her antique flour-sack collection … seemingly random steps of different sizes, which makes walking up an down an exercise in intense concentration.” ; “framed over the bathtub are a year’s worth of nail clippings and two plaited pigtails from Grey Rabbit…” that’s her son.  Like I said, curiously compelling.  I don’t know, maybe just plain strange.  It does make me think.  Another one of her ideas – after closing her final store, she petrified all the remaining clothes in beeswax, making them into still-lifes now sold at an art gallery.  The workings of this kind of mind are incredibly intriguing and ever so challenging –  at least they are for me.

I do love a good challenge, especially if it makes me squirm a bit.

BTW – for my birthday I got a cold.  The day was spent running just a few errands and taking it easy – Chick Fil A for lunch, bought a copy of Ever After, one of my favorite movies and the new Oprah magazine – okay, so my milquetoast roots show up every once in a while.

And for today’s local news, there’s a bunch of blog posts from folks in my part of the world showcasing our ginormous snowfall.  Thankfully we were well prepared and our power stayed on.  Our neck of the world got about 8 – 10″.

a couple of snowy pics …

backyard wonderland

a bit of snow sculpture …

frigid chaise

With that I’ll bid a good evening.  My mom flies in to Charlotte on Monday and will be here through the week; my brother drives over, hopefully, on Wednesday.

So I’ll be wishing everyone a joyous and safe holiday.   Thank you all for visiting.

With enormous gratitude and many blessings – kvk

That’s my goal these days – fearless creating.  Funny thing, taking a  bottle of cheap shoe polish to and slicing the handle off a really expensive handbag, followed by a successful shoulder strap assembly, bolstered my courage quite a bit.  Refurbished courage in hand, I jumped right into my next project – making my own silk ribbon and designing a new series of jewelry.

First note to self … any new project, especially developing a new direction in one’s work, carries with it a steep learning curve.  There will be goofs and not so greats and well that’s pretty close.  My initial goof, cutting up half of my silk in the wrong direction – not on the bias.  I figured out I can still use these pieces, just not as single strands.  Even though these sections fray like crazy, they’re working really well for braiding and weaving.  Second half of yardage was A-okay.

After the strips were cut, it was time to haul out my dye pots and transform my kitchen into my little color alchemy studio.  There’s something so satisfying about mixing colors on top of the stove.  I never go into it with much of a plan, just a starting point of at least 5 or 6 dye colors I like and then the mixing begins.  Here’s how the dying process took shape …

before

getting ready

dye pot

just washed

sorted

ready to go

I am absolutely in love with my results … I mean really in love!  The colors are flat out gorgeous and perfect and impossible to reproduce, which is why I like them so much.

So now that I’ve got my raw materials, what to do?  I started with translating my existing silk knotting technique to the ribbon.

first draft

This first draft in knotting was too messy for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I like messy.  There’s just got to be some order within the chaos.  This one will need to be re-done.

needs work #2

Next I was trying out some braiding with the straight cut ribbon.  Really like the look, but the ends were WAY too bulky.  Gotta re-do this one as well.

final draft

So then I just went for the simple pendants on the bias cut ribbon.  Here’s where I nailed the finishing details.  Now on to fixing the first, gobbed up attempts.  As I’m learning how to work with my new materials, I’m pooling so many techniques.  That’s one of the best parts about designing – each new series builds on everything that’s come before.

Second note to self … as the new work starts to come together there’s the inevitable wasted materials.  I hate to waste materials, but it’s a necessary part of the process.   The thing about fearless creating and something I remember from a high school art teacher – use plenty of whatever is at hand.  Don’t be afraid to grab and just go with it.

Third note to self … don’t edit, at least not at first.  I find myself trying to edit designs much too soon.  To create successful new work I’ve got to max out the design … take it as far as I can … go over the top … then decide what can be left out or scaled back.

So I let the works in progress rest a bit.  Yesterday, I came back to the work with a rested eye and a fresh perspective.  Here are the final products …

The retro-fit needed thinner ribbons, this made the ends significantly less bulky – much more better.

finished retro-fit

A much cleaner version of the pearl choker.  Still raw, still somewhat messy – just more refined.

classic pearl choker re-dux

I got brave with this longer pendant.  It’s chock full of really yummy elements.  In anticipation of getting more Basha Beads, I included one I’ve been hoarding for about 8 or 9 years.  There’s also tiny rings with tiny raw diamonds interspersed throughout.  There’s also a bunch of my new chunky and very raw cube beads.  Really really love this necklace!

the last finished product

So that’s where I am today.  I want to get these listed on Etsy and then work on several other designs including some new bracelets and earrings.  A great thing about this new series, all the components are what I have on hand – no new elements.  That’s an important part of my design process  – re-purposing components.  I take components from existing designs and turn them this way and that, layer and stack and stitch or weave, bend or link or whatever I can come up with … a process that I started years ago with inspiration from the Ken Bova workbook (here’s the list from an earlier post).

Fourth note to self … I’m very pleased with the new work, but it will continue to evolve.  Nothing about my work or my process is static.  Everything is subject to change and evolution in the relentless pursuit of fearless creating.

One last thing – some links to share …

Darcy Miro – jewelry designer and sculptor found in the current issue of Vogue or W, can’t remember right now.  No surprise why I like her work; website is fun as well.

Robin Richman –  cool shop in Chicago with a good blog

Henry Darger –  okay, so all you people who follow outsider artist types probably know about him, but lord have mercy, this will take some serious perusal … so much work in a lifetime.

Stories From the Ground shadow puppetry collective – just amazing.  Here’s a video as well.

Okay, second last thing … a very big thank you to the Thornton’s, Cynthia and Andrew, for nudging me out of my reclusive ways and helping me work on my social skills.

max, cynthia, andrew and azalea

Such a lovely afternoon of show and tell and stories and laughs and sweet babies.

so very sweet

Okay, this is really the last thing … 9 days and counting.

with enormous gratitude and many blessings – kvk

So first and foremost … It is officially my birthday month!!!  I like to celebrate the whole month – I think that’s best.  The actual day is the 17th, but my celebration starts today.  Let’s hear it for an easy slide into 54!

Goodness, such an amazing week – where to start …

I’m thinking the biggest stunner of the week was an out of the blue phone call from Barbara Metzger, aka Basha Beads!  I was blown away.  She has Google alerts set up for her beads and saw my blog entry, followed links to my work on my website and the Etsy site, liked what she saw and read and decided she needed to give me a call.  We chatted for the better part of an hour – easy conversation, much common ground and shared aesthetics and lots of laughs … lots of laughs.  You’d never know it was our first conversation.  The upshot of the conversation – Barbara’s going to send me a ‘pick box’ later this month.  This also means that I don’t have to nudge Lynne out of lampworking retirement!  My mind is swirling with possibilities and I’m about to bust with excitement.  Bzzzzz, Bzzzzz, Bzzzzzz – my little brain is just a buzzing.

Which got me working on the next part of the project – the vehicle which will support the new work.  I’m still on my weaving and fiber thing, not that I’ve ever been off.  Lynne told me about some sari silk ribbon on Etsy.  Of course I had to check it out and immediately bought three skeins.  The colors are gorgeous, but I’m thinking it’s too irregular and the seams too bulky for my needs.  Then I thought about a small stash of hand-dyed silk ribbon that looks pretty cool woven … bulky, though.  Just as well.  For my next design phase, I really want to focus on generating virtually all of the content own my own – Basha Beads excluded.  I bought some really luscious silk a while back with plans to cut and dye my own strips.  Here’s three of the experiments and the initial ‘ribbon’ cuttings.

sari silk/leather, silk ribbon, sari silk

After trying to cut slinky silk into ribbon with scissors, it became quite clear there must be a better way.  Tools, must have more tools … Enter the world of rotary fabric cutters and mondo self-healing cutting surfaces.

new tools and accoutrements

ditto

So, I should be all set.

I’m also thinking about doing a bit of ‘retro-fitting’ to some jewelry.  I’m wanting to replace the chain elements with either my own silk ribbon – woven or plain, or braided silk cord … soften the look and bring out the color of the raw sapphires.

awaiting renewal

The essence of my aesthetic is raw yet refined, organic but contemporary.  As my hang tag says, “… rustic elements in classically inspired silhouettes … jewelry designs that, while being firmly rooted in my own urban sensibility, have a primal and somewhat ancient quality.”  I love how the components are coming together.  Oooooh, it’s going to be interesting!

Having spent so much time and energy on updating the website and installing the shopping cart, it was time to take a few days off.  I got to cruise around town and do a thorough perusal of a couple of my favorite haunts.  On Friday, Dave and I rounded up my darling friend, Marilyn, in Bryson City and headed off further west to the Stecoah Valley studio tour to catch up with old friends.  It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic setting than the home and studio of our long-time friends, Jeff and Crim Bassett of Bee Global.

jeff, marilyn and dave in the gallery

cruising the property

my walkin one and only

Such a glorious day, crisp and clear, seeing old friends and enjoying the special charm of Stecoah Valley.

I’m still taking a bit of a break, well for maybe another day or so.  I just finished up another project that I’ve been thinking about for months.  I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect bag for – well seems like forever.  I accost people on the streets, I frequent T J Max, consignment and thrift stores.  I guess the caveat here is I want a really nice bag, but I don’t want to pay a fortune for it.  A couple of years ago, I thought I’d found it.  I got a bunch of gift certificates to Sundance Catalog one year and put them together to buy what looked like the perfect bag.  Turns out the color was not great, the shoulder strap was too short and would not stay in place and I decided I didn’t like the white accent stitching – phooey!  So that fancy, expensive bag’s been sitting in the top of my closet for a good long while.

I struggled with this for a bit, but figured what the heck, it’s better than just sitting in the closet … I got out the black shoe polish and scissors and went to work.  Gone is the annoying shoulder strap, replaced with a new adjustable black cotton webbing one; the odd reddish color and white stitching are now a much improved mottled dark brownish/black.

my "new" bag

It took multiple trips to multiple stores to round up the antique brass snaps and rivets and eyelets and all the appropriate tools, cannibalizing an old belt for it’s buckle and other hardware, but I’m quite satisfied with my finished product.  Not bad for 20 bucks.

It’s been a good break, very good.  My Yogi Tea ‘fortunes’ have been spot on …

My updated table shrine brings me such joy whenever I sit down to work …

And, thanks to Dave’s constant search for new and different music (he’s a bit compulsive actually, Amazon downloads  are so addictive), I’ve got some new background music.  I haven’t listened to everything he’s gotten, but this one is especially lovely.  Sufjan Stevens …

Now, I’m stopping to take deep breaths.  I can feel the forces assembling … creative impulses, ideas, concepts, motivations.  It’s the inexorable current beneath the icy crust.  Exhilarating, joyous anticipation.  Readying myself to leap, for I know without a doubt, the net will appear.

blessings – kvk

kawabunga and yippie kay yay and holy moly and golly gee and lord mercy what a relief!

The shopping cart is up and as best as I can tell right now, running.  I’m going to do a bit of test shopping later, but for now I’m enormously pleased and super proud of my own self for taking on this daunting task.  It’s beccome painfully obvious why it costs thousands of dollars for top-notch web and e-commerce design.  All things considered, I’m quite pleased.  I’m starting off with the PayPal route.  I considered BigCartel, but as I was starting with 80+ sku’s, I opted for Paypal.

Needless to say, the coming days will involve lots more proofing and testing, but for now ………….

I AM DONE!!!!!!!!  check it out here.

Hallelujah and praise be and glory glory glory.

I really do honestly without a doubt believe.

blessings – kvk

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