As I begin 2015 coming out of a flu slump that was not only debilitating, but also time-consuming, I have found my time best spent dreaming. Being inspired by the snow as it falls and creates a fresh white blanket … Continue reading
I have always learned lessons by taking action. As you might expect this works in my favor sometimes and at times it does not. Sharing my work, my love, my process through social media has been a blast and growing my audience has always been a goal. I trusted in my inner voice and that of my mentors, friends, family and oh so savy son-in-law to take the leap to promote myself in order to reach a broader audience. All I had to do was ask, well it worked. I have to thank all of those who stepped up with their support, it’s what we do follow those who have value and something to offer.
As for following rules, well I might not buy into that entirely. You will find me a bit wordy at times, ( a no-no in social media) as well as sharing my personal opinions, (don’t worry no politicking here), but I will let you know how I do truly feel. This all being a part of my entire process of creating work that has meaning, substance and love in it. Yes I am truly vested in what I have chosen to do and believe that if you put forth work that is passtionate your audience will connect to you and your art, sometimes you just need a little help to get the word out there.
I encourage you to support artists, crafters, artisans and creators of beauty, we appreciate it, rely on it and it allows us to know that we are on the right track. Oh and we might actually make a living at what we are doing, the ultimate challenge of every person who choses to live by what is made by their hand and tools of their trade. So like, follow, comment and engage in those people you find interesting, some of the best relationships are developed through sharing of information. Go for it what do you have to lose, in my experience there is more to gain from every aspect!
There is nothing better than the last days of summer in September when the temps are above 75 and the beaches are deserted. I feel blessed to be able to take advantage of this beautiful time of year, to feel the warmth of the sunshine and the wash of the water over my bare feet. It is these walks that fill my well with creative energy and peaceful meditation. It is these adventures that begin with a fog bank so thick you think it might never lift.
When the temps rise and the fog lifts the excitement of the hunt begins and the sounds of the waves become the mantra that fills my head. Today I am with my partner, my rock, the person that makes my world possible. Today is a good day, one that she is able to accompany me to enjoy this beautiful Maine Beach Day in September.
Being on a beach with no one in site, with the beach to ourselves is an amazing experience, a true gift of life in Maine. I can take the time to connect with all of the beauty of the beach, beyond the stones that I collect, the seaweed, the larger stones within stones all fill my soul with wonder and a peace that is a wonderful meditative process.
One last look at the place I spent my day with the person that means the most and a memory of a perfect day and the excitment of getting home to examine the treasures we have picked to become a part of my work.
When we arrive home it’s time to sort and wash the stones that have been collected with care. Chosen one by one in the hopes that when they are examined closer that they will be great additions to my jewelry. Each stone has the potential to be the focal point of my beach stone & silver jewelry that I will forge in my studio. Sorting by size and washing with the garden hose, on our handmade table on the deck, is the perfect end to a perfect Maine Beach Day. It’s time for a great dinner and listening to the rain outside I have a wonderful feeling of peacefulness washing over me, like the water rushing over the stones today on the beach.
I am a collector of things. Yes I connect with many objects whether it be of natural origin or of antique and vintage aged items, they infatuate and inspire me. They all have a story to tell, through their lines and markings and worn areas, you are left to wonder what journey they have been through in their previous existence?
The stones that I am a drawn to have been part of the earth for more years than I can even fathom. I am forever imagining the paths they have taken while being tumbled by the ocean and from the depths of where they have come, only to be transported to the beaches via the rolling and often times crashing waves. These beach stones, beach rocks or, amazing treasures of the sea as I like to call them, are my inspiration daily. In order to showcase them in the way that I envision them I start with simple things, tools of my trade you would say, most importantly my hammers.
I am fortunate enough to have some very meaningful sources for my tools, as with my stones the story of how they came to me is as important as the hammer itself. Each time I reach for my treasured ball peen hammer I remember that it is a tool that hung amongst the throngs of well-worn tools from my Father’s work bench. This man who willed me his passion to attempt to try anything, this mechanic who spent his life fixing anything and everything he could get his hands on. I feel his energy with the blows of the hammer and revel in the feeling that he is always watching me from his place high above and guiding me through my processes with both pride and criticism, of which I deserve both.
I have been given the privilege to live across the street from my partner Pam’s Grandfather’s house for 9 years now. His workshop is filled with tools that were from his father and his grandfather and so on. These hardy Mainers from Cushing & Thomaston were seafaring folk and their tools have stories that even I can’t imagine being a part of. Bump, as Pam would call her Grandfather, had many jobs in his 96 years of life, a few were working at the Bath Iron Works and the crew that constructed Maine Yankee in Wiscasset. He came to be a caretaker here on Montsweag Rd for the “summer people”, so each and every tool had a journey through many lives. Several of these treasures are in my possession and when I grip their aged handles I am reminded of his steadfast spirit and once again he shared my fathers ability to attempt most of any project.
I feed my soul with a good “find” while visiting the Montsweag Flea Market as well as yard sales and other great antique markets all year-long. These tools are those I know no stories about, but from markings on the faces and surfaces I understand that each worn handle was held with a need, a passion to complete the task at hand. I have created patterns in the faces of some of these hammers and it is with that hammer blow I achieve my own unique and one of a kind texture. This hammer blow and the pattern it leaves behind brings me the joy of a job well done and I feel guided by everyone before me who has held each hammer in their hand. Whether it be a carpenter, ship builder, mechanic, cobbler, farrier, iron worker, plumber or a woman like me who hammers silver, the energy they left behind is with me guiding me through each strike.
Tools are what allowed these people to problem solve and fix what was broken and build the foundation for projects both small and large. These same tools are now the tools of my trade along with some new purchases and I hope that someday they will part of someone elses life, so that they too can feel the energy that I have added and the passion I feel for each one’s unique shape, weight, age and smooth worn handles.
As with all blog posts I tried to organize my thoughts this morning while quietly drinking my tea. I spent much time updating and making some much-needed changes to my blog. Much like this inspiring pile of beach stones, it takes time to choose which beach stone will be transformed with forged silver into what kind of focused piece of jewelry, it too takes time to choose images and words to convey the thoughts and emotions that best describe my work and the space I am in at the moment.
I had an amazing opportunity this past week to attend the #inbound13 marketing conference in Boston, thanks to my son-in-law who works for Hubspot. I got to witness the energy of the current technology boom in a way I never have. Noticing all the time that I was one of the few in the entire audience of 5300 that was gray-haired and over the age of 35. I got to listen to one of my favorite bloggers in the world of marketing, Seth Godin who brought to everyone’s attention that we all needed to, “Be one of a kind, own it and live it”. His call to being “remarkable” and to “delight” people with our stories was refreshing and inspiring. In a world where there is so much information in order to be recognized and be appreciated for what we do, give people the information of most value, what is it about what you do that is special?
I also listened closely to Arianna Huffington speak about the need to reconnect, recharge. Remove technology from your down time, stop living a life of hurry up and take note of ourselves. Most notable was when she said that “life only makes sense when you are living it”. Well, in this world of day to day responsibilities I am learning from the words of these entrepreneurs, these people who are taking the world by storm and being authentic.
When I looked at this beautiful organization of beach stones that I collected and remember the feeling of being at one with the ocean and it’s offerings I realize that I am authentic, I am doing what I was meant to be doing. I am truly focused and my world makes sense and my process takes me to a place of feeling connected to the earth, this I know is my calling in life.
Balancing life is what poses the challenges and if there is anything I take away from this busy time in Boston or this beautiful and peaceful time collecting each ocean tumbled marvel from the beach is that time is of most value. Giving, sharing and loving are the mantra that fills my well. I feel the well is full and I am in need of the creative step, so onward I go.
Thank you for following my journey.
I love what I do. Simple times begin on Maine beaches looking for smooth, worn beach stones. I come across many different sizes, shapes and colors, but am always amazed each and every time I am graced with a heart-shaped stone. It is not whether it is a perfectly shaped heart, it is simply that the shape evokes an emotion. A feeling that the symbolism of a heart signifies love in so many ways. Love of beaches, the earth, nature, my partner, my dogs, my family, my friends, each of these connections are evoked when I find a heart stone nestled among the many other shaped stones on the beach.
Treasured and collected by many, heart-shaped beach stones are revered because they are created by the crashing of the waves, the rubbing together against other rocks and worn smooth by more years than I have been on this earth. I revel in the shape that nature has bestowed upon this simple stone, one that is not common.
When I bring my hand-picked stones home from my excursions I am able to recount the days and time spent on the beach and the moments of excitement I felt when these special stones were chosen for my collection. When I analyze how to drill them and in turn what to create from these treasured heart stones I then am able to share with others the love I feel.
As Valentine’s Day approaches I look back on the heart stone necklaces & bracelets that I have created and those who purchased them. Sometimes they are purchased as gifts of love, sometimes by collectors who just can’t get enough of the heart-shaped stones. No matter what the reason I understand the draw of the shape and the sentiment behind the love of this simple beach stone.
2013 has started out as a year of adjusting to changes. The excitement of having a home/studio and creating my jewelry from a bench just steps from my garden, the chickens & beautiful Montsweag Bay is a wonderful thing! The closing of The Creative Turtle after 5 seasons was a bittersweet moment in November of 2012, but a necessary step in my new path as a productive metalsmith. I will miss the visits from amazing people in the gallery that were part of each day, but I will cherish the focus and quiet that I will have as I forge and design my silver pieces and drill my stones without interruption. I have come to realize that focus is truly what is needed for completing my projects in a way that is not only enjoyable & efficient, but also affords me the ability to absorb my amazing environment and draw from it all the while being able to do so at home.
After the year of many transitions and realizations in 2012, I am making plans for new shows, additional gallery & shop representation as well as new designs. I added three very exciting new concepts to my work last year, Silver cuffs & rings that are hand forged and oxidized to highlight the patterns from my special hammer. These pieces each incorporate the use of brass tube rivets as a focal point to compliment the beach stones. I repeated this concept in the up-cycled leather belt bracelets that have been so successful for me and great price point as well as a fresh new look. I find it important to remain challenged and excited by adding new creations to my repertoire of elemental designs. I always keep in mind how to focus on the stones that I collect from the Maine coast and how I can highlight them while staying true to my organic style. I am happy to say that I am satisfied with 2012 production and look forward to expanding in 2013 with so much extra time on my hands with which to focus on my work.
I will start my shows off this year with a wonderful opportunity to show my work at Craft Boston this year in April. As a juried member of the Maine Crafts Association I will be exhibiting in a large shared booth opportunity in a market that I have been anxious to connect with. Spring will bring a flurry of activity to get ready for this show as well as getting the studio ready for an Open Studio” event to be announced soon. January and February is full of applying for shows and creating work for spring placement in new galleries and shops that provide exciting opportunities to expose many more people to my Beach Stone Jewelry.
I am looking forward to achieving the goal of a more regimented attempt at blogging, social media and staying ahead of the curve so that I can enjoy some time to feed my creative well. Trips to the beach to forage for just he right amazing beach stones on the Maine coast as well as gardening, kayaking and taking care of the homestead will be high priority as well. Most of all helping my partner Pam get well and make this the year of healing from Lyme after her long 4 year battle will be a constant in each of my days.
I want to thank everyone who has supported my journey through creativity and my attempt to create a life that is rich with nature and expression through my jewelry. Please share my blog with those you feel would enjoy my work and my words!
Here’s to 2013 a year to settle into a rhythm of creativity.
It has been far too long since I have posted on my blog and much has happened in this busy life of mine. I have come to the conclusion that people are kinder than you can ever think when you are going through a personal health struggle with someone you love and that there is just never enough time to keep up on all of the marketing and posting on social media, blogs and emails!!
That being said, I have my first show of the season under my belt with my new booth design, that just wouldn’t have been possible without the help of from very special family members who worked diligently to make my vision come true. I am thrilled with the design and will tweak a few things next time, but all in all it’s perfect!! The show under the large white tent for the Maine Home & Design Show was a great time and a new location. I met many wonderful new faces, but saw some very familiar ones from both the gallery in Boothbay Harbor as well as the wonderful staff at Maine & Maine Home + Design magazines. They do a wonderful job of marketing and I was happy with the wonderful compliments on both my work and the new booth design. I am very excited to see the 48 hours in Boothbay Harbor editorial that will be in the upcoming August issue!!
Now down to new and exciting work! I have finally taken my concept that has been percolating over the winter and created a new line of Leather Cuffs made from recycled belts with brass riveted beach stones. Once again my focus is always on the stone; color, shape, size and texture. I take a simple approach to adhering the stone with a brass tube rivet and finish with solid brass snaps. I have had a great time this winter searching for the right stones for these bracelets as well as the collection of belts that might work for the designs. It’s been a challenge to find the right belts and after a few mis-steps I have finally determined what I like and what will work! They are fun and distinctive, chunky and small as well. I expect them to be a unisex style and hope to come up with some additional more rugged styles for men in the near future. The reaction on my Facebook page has been great and they are selling well! Trying to keep up with new pieces is my only challenge and a good one to have! Each bracelet has a little surprise inside, a penny that is located right behind the stone for a little extra luck and good copper energy to go along with the energy of the beach stone. A wrist measurement is all you need and a leather belt color, choose the year of the penny you would like and I can email you pics of stones…and it’s a personal bracelet for you or a loved one. They make wonderful gifts with a character and impact that is unmistakable and unique!
For now work in the gallery is happening as often as I can, I close when I need to for medical appointment and errands for Pam. If you need to reach me I am always available by cell at 603-475-0762 or by email: Circlestonedesignsmaine@gmail.com. Please add one more show to the list this summer! After a great conversation with Dave Getchell at Maine Boats & Harbors I will be participating in their show in Rockland on August 10-12. I did the show two years ago with Pam and wasn’t located in a very good spot for the great crowd that they draw, but this year I will be in the art related area…so take some time and come up to Rockland for a great time in mid August and don’t forget the Boat Yard Dog Trials on Sunday!!
I have felt the draw for quite some time now to get myself to the coast to gather some inspiration and April 13-14 was just the right time. If there is anything that I have learned is that it is necessary to seize the moment when it comes to hunting for just the right stones for my jewelry. The right temperature, tide and day of the week seem to all play a role! I was without my usual companions, my partner Pamela and our beloved Weims Jasmine & Stone. Stone passed away the beginning of March, at the age of 12, in front of our wood stove in a very peaceful way. We miss him dearly and our lives will never be the same, it’s always been the 4 of us on the adventures. So this time I ventured out completely alone and had time for some contemplative thoughts.
Once again I found myself in my 3 favorite spots, each time for hours to enjoy the sounds, smells and sights of the coast of Maine, this time in complete solitude. I spent many hours over my 2 days picking up each individual beach stone with great care so as not to take what I would not use. This has become more important to me with each trip I take no matter where I am. This natural resource is so precious and I honor and am thankful for what mother earth provides for me in choices. My eye for the right stones is becoming more trained as is my connection to each piece that I chose to pick up.
I stayed at a lovely Inn and although I only slept in the bed one night, was very thankful for the large tub that soaked my back that evening!! I have been diligent about by body posture since going to physical therapy and did a great job bending and stooping to pick up each stone. A special thanks to Matt & Bobby at Coastal Orthopedics for the lessons in body strength and position, it really does work!
Upon my return I have spent quite a bit of time organizing my work and designing new displays, so that all of my Beach Stone Treasures are going to be highlighted in a very thoughtful way. Here is a preview of what I have created and will be using in The Creative Turtle, as well as the shows I have been lucky enough to be juried into for this upcoming season. My first trip will be up to Archipelago the end of this week and we will see how they work out there. I am very excited to blend the warmth of the Birch Wood with the organic & raw style of my jewelry, I feel it truly gives my work the energy it has when it is worn by a person, as the wood has it’s own wonderful warm energy.
If you have a chance take a look at the new website, I have added quite a bit of work and am excited about it’s new format! Circle Stone Designs is finally becoming the site that I have strived for all year!
I have just updated my show schedule and am very excited to have added several shows to my list!! I am honored to be juried into these shows and will look forward to connecting with new clients and collectors who have been so kind in their support of my work. Check out the following links to see what show you might be able to attend and make sure that you stop by to say hi!! Subscribe to my blog and I will give you 10% off your purchase at any show you purchase my work from. This list will be growing so be sure to check out the blog and website for updates!!
Here is the list as it is today:
June 29-July 1, Maine Home & Design Show, Camden, Maine
July 21-22, Blue Hill Fine Craft Show. Blue Hill, Maine
September 8-9, Laudholm Nature Crafts Festival. Wells, Maine
September 15-16, Fall in the Village Art & Music Festival. Freeport, Maine
September 21-23, Common Ground Fair. Unity, Maine
November 9-10, The Gifted Hand. Ellsworth, Maine
November 16-18, Artful Gifts. Northport, Maine