27 August 2008

I love chiropractors

For the past two weeks I have been doing a whole lot of, well, nearly nothing, in an effort to rest my wrists and hands. I had a summer full of shows, and tried very hard to pace myself when it came to restocking inventory and working on special orders. I thought I had managed myself well, but two weeks ago (just before the last of the summer shows) my wrists just went "bad." The onset of symptoms seemed sudden, and I sure hoped it wasn't the beginnings of carpal tunnel. I needed time off anyway, so I tried very hard to do as little as possible, just working on the few orders I had from my last three shows. Unfortunately, it seemed like the less I did, the worse the wrists felt. Yesterday I finally went to my chiropractor. Why, oh why didn't I just go right away? While not "well," my hands feel immensely better. Plus, I understand what is going on in my wrists and I have a strategy for counteracting what the bones in my forearm are doing. Now I just need to get through one show in September, one long show in October, and then the November onslaught.....

While "resting" I got myself to the Minnesota State Fair, which I absolutely love and have missed for the past two years. I spent the entire day and still didn't get to the animal barns, so I will have to go back in the next few days. Darn, looks like I'll have to get the Tom Thumb mini-donuts again! Maybe I will also try two of the new food offerings this year: chocolate-covered key lime pie on-a-stick, and something called "piglickers" which sounds intriguing enough to try (Neuskies smoked bacon covered in super-dark chocolate and sprinkled with a spicy-salt mix). Strangely, not on a stick (I think). I think I gained a few pounds just by writing about that food!

I have also been busy with the camera and the keyboard, writing articles and tutorials for a new website, now out of beta-testing, called JewelryLessons.com. This site was put together and is administered by the well known wire jewelry artist, Eni Oken. I am so grateful to have been included in the beta testing. Go take a look! The offerings are still being fleshed out, so visit frequently to see how it changes. So far I have written a tutorial on the Spiral Earrings, Tumble polishing your work, and articles on doing and finding art fairs. I am working on a photo-dense tutorial for Viking knitting.

13 August 2008

Viking Knit set with green pearls

Here are the Viking knit pieces that won me First in Jewelry at the Amish Acres Arts and Crafts Fair, as I posted earlier. The necklace came first, and I originally intended to have all the smaller, darker green pearls to the outside and the larger, lighter green pearls together in the center of the piece, a graduation in size as I usually do with white pearls. Before I began weaving, however, the pearl strands sat around on my work table and while absentmindedly playing with them I saw the alternating size/color option and decided I might like that better. And I sure do like it better!

The bracelet also represents the first bracelet of this type. I have never liked bracelets made using the Viking weave, mostly because the weave naturally wants to stick out straight at the ends, making it extremely difficult to operate any kind of latch or hook. This open weave is a bit more forgiving, and the large "signature" hooks that I make allow one person (me, as the resident product tester) to hook the bracelet with one hand. It is definitely a bit trickier than my other bracelets, but still doable. These look nice on the arm and -Bonus!- the hook looks cool too so it doesn't really matter which side is showing.

04 August 2008

A First for me -- First Place!

There were so many things I wanted to write about in the past 10 days, but constant traveling, art shows, and (more importantly) a lack of internet access have prevented it until now.  And now that I am at a WiFi spot in Chicago, the events of the past four days take precedence over describing a beautiful drive across the U.P.

One of my Viking knit necklaces won me First Place in the Jewelry Category at the Amish Acres Arts and Crafts Festival!  I think the judges were intrigued by the unusual technique, but it certainly doesn't hurt that the piece is stunning (in my opinion, at least).   Unfortunately for you readers, I cannot upload and post any photos of the necklace until I get home next week.  A bonus for the whole weekend was meeting and spending time talking with other wire jewelry artists who were at the show.  This was wonderful!

On a more somber note, attendance at the event were way, way, WAY down.  Apparently the festival usually has busloads of people coming down from Chicago, and is usually wall-to-wall with people.  Not so this year.  I did alright, sales-wise, even though I expected at least twice what I brought in.  Shows all summer have been very lightly attended and it makes me worry about next year.  It is too late to worry too much about this year since I am committed to doing shows through November.