Friday, July 22, 2011

Metal Clay Artist Magazine

Last summer I spent a week at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.  It was a wonderful week working with PMC with no limits or restrictions.  One of the pieces that came out of that workshop, which explored hidden objects and containers, was my first "Peekaboo Pendant".  I wear it nearly every day and it's still one of my most favorite pieces. 

I've made others and they are always very popular.  Last winter I taught a workshop in making them and my students made some gorgeous versions.  I would have to say that, except for my Willow pendants, the Peekaboo Pendant has been my most popular design.

 I have never submitted photos of my work to any publication before, but took the leap a while back and sent a few photos to Metal Clay Artist Magazine.  Within a very short period of time, I received an email from the editor about my Peekaboo Pendant, wanting a one sentence description as she thought she might use it in their next issue.  I excitedly held my breath, but tried not to get my hopes up too much that it would actually be used. 

Last week I got my copy of the magazine - a special second anniversary issue - and quickly turned to the gallery section.  There is was, right beside some really fantastic pieces by artists whose work I have admired! 

Wegener's Update

Every so often I get comments on my blog or emails about my entries about my struggle with Wegener's Granulomatosis.  I don't write about it very often because, truthfully, I don't like to think about it too much.  By that I mean that I don't want it to be the be-all and end-all of my existence.  Yes, I'm a person with an autoimmune disease, but I don't want that to be my entire identity.  It's always there, but it's only a small part of me.  If I focus on it too much then I tend to become consumed with it, which, for me, is counterproductive.  This is not to say that I don't take the disease seriously.  I do.  But I can't let it take over my life.

Having said that, I do feel I owe it to those who have read my Wegener's entries to give updates every so often.  It's still there and requires me to ration my energy.  I can pretty much do everything I always did, except I sleep more, or I pay for it.  Sometimes it takes me a bit longer to recover from a big event (such as a weekend craft show).  I do have trouble remembering to get my bloodwork done every other month, though.  As long as I take my medicine the arthritis part of the disease (which is the symptom that affects my life the most) is manageable.  I do have flares every so often and I have learned to work through them with extra pain meds, hot baths and rest.  (Massages also help.)  When things do get bad during a flare, I have gotten pretty good about asking for help from my family and friends. 

Having a rare disease such as Wegener's can be lonely at times.  Those who don't have it can't relate to some of the issues that come up.  However, in this technological age, there are so many online groups that have other Wegener's sufferers who are always happy to give advice or a kind word.  I personally don't know anyone else who has Wegener's, except for those I've met online, but I have received a lot of support from a couple of people I know who have Rheumatoid Arthritis.  It's not the same thing, but they have similar symptoms with their joints and are on the same medications.  I suppose in some ways all autoimmune diseases are the same.

So what I would like to say to anyone who reads this and is having problems is:  keep your chin up.  It does get better.  Maybe not back to the way you were before Wegener's, but it will be a new normal that isn't so bad most of the time.  And thank you all for your comments and emails.  They mean a lot to me and I hope my (infrequent) posts about Wegener's help.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Arts in the Park this Weekend

I'm in top gear getting a bunch of new pieces ready for Arts in the Park this weekend (July 9 and 10).  It's an awesome show on the waterfront in Belfast.  Come see me and all the talented artists from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Here's a sneak preview of some of the things I will have there.

I got the enameling bug and these earrings are some of the results.

Below is a closeup of one of a pair of earrings I have been working on for quite a while.  They are enameled with the plique-รก-jour technique, in which the enamel is wet packed into cells in the metal with no backing so the light can shine through.   This was my first attempt and is my take on a lupine.

I also will have several new bronze pieces, as well as many in silver.

Next week I will start my stint at the Bangor Outdoor Market.  It is a fun market in downtown Bangor on Thursdays from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.  There is live music every week.  It's really worth checking out.