Friday, September 26, 2008

The Littlest Angel Award

It's the time of year when everywhere you look, there's inspiration for art. The low-lying fog over the soybean fields this morning on the way to work. The big puffy clouds on the horizon whose color I'm still trying to figure out (They weren't white, they weren't purple really, but I guess they could be in a painting; the shadows of the tops were the same color as the sky on the horizon...), the roses coming back to life in the cool fall air, the Monarch butterfly that hatched in my classroom today.

But the true inspiration today came from one of my students in the last 3 minutes of the last class. This 12-year-old kid came up to me and said, "You know, Mr. W., I've tried all week to be nice to this kid, cuz I was trying to live by the saying 'keep your friends close and your enemies closer', but I don't think I can do it any more, Mr. W. What would you do?"

Remember, this kid is 12. I'm not sure what this student's homelife is like, but I do know that he doesn't have many of the material advantages that many of our student body enjoys. However, this kid must have some sort of parent or influence at home to listen to his problems, and to give him this kind of advice - and the kid listened!

That in itself is worth more than a boat and 2 cars in your 3-car garage that's attached to your 3-story house with a stay-at-home-mom who may take you to soccer, but doesn't ever really listen to you.

So this little 3-inch angel from my studio is for today's inspirational student who confided in me at the end of a very long day. Thanks, kid, for reminding me that it's the human factor that matters.

I just hope I was able to inject a little bit of humanity into someone's life today.



Thursday, September 25, 2008

Chain of Thoughts

You know how an idea can just hover around? You're driving and you think a little bit about it. You're doing dishes, and whoops! there it is.
This pair of pretties exemplifies just that. One small thought is linked to a larger thought that is then developed into something faceted and beautiful. They may not be totally related, but there they are, making a whole that has its own beauty.
A couple of days ago, in my language arts class, I had the students do a free-write for twenty minutes. By this time in the year, they have 'used up' all their ideas. "Mr. Weld, this is too hard!" one of them whines. "I can't think of anything to write about," chimes in a second. I respond with, "Well, write about how you don't have anything to write about. Don't stop. Eventually, one thing will lead to another, and before you know it, you'll be on the verge of prophecy." *dumb looks from the nickel seats*
Being the good teacher that I am *raspberry followed by raucous laughter*, I was modeling positive writing behavior by writing in my journal book while they were doing the same. Actually, I was mulling over this same topic, and so I later blogged about how I have made an effort to read others' blogs, and how that has led me to a new appreciation for modern writing, and how it has reaffirmed my belief that anyone can write. I know that most of the people who write blogs are not formally trained in writing. Yet they can be riveting works of literary art *fist pounds open hand in emphasis*! I'd like to get my students to start blogging for real. Give them a real audience to write for besides their teacher. Hmmm. First I need laptops with Internet access for each student.... WAKE UP! But there's gotta be a way. See?! One thought leads to another, and eventually, this one will take shape, mature, and become the latest in teaching pedagogy (big word of the day!).
Ach! It's late and I'm feeling that weird mix of fatigue/punchy/philosophical. Enough!
The earrings above (Sorry! I'll post something besides earrings next time!) are smoky quartz, pearl, glass, and sterling. I thought the faceted, clear beads mixed well with the smooth, opaque pearls. And I am really into the whole longer drop thing. It's airy, elegant, and well-balanced.
$20 and still available, if any one's interested.
Until next time, when I'll show you something besides earrings,

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Spring, Hope, Eternal Bliss

One of my mom's favorite quotes was (IS, I suppose), "Hope Springs Eternal". Over the years, I have pondered exactly what that means. When I was little and literal, I pictured all this hope (not quite sure what hope looks like - I think it was just the word 'hope' in all different fonts and colors) geysering out of this hole in the ground forever and ever. Now in my older years (yep, birthday next week!), I suppose it means that humanity is basically a positive experience. We tend to forget bad things with time (another fave quote: "Time heals all wounds."), and focus on the good. Even the times in my life when I have been hurt to the core pale in comparison to all the many more fantastic memories that I still savor. Considering that the amount of pain during the bad times was so much stronger than the amount of pleasure during the good ones this seems a little backward.

Not that I'm complaining at all. Good is good. Good is great! Emotion is such a powerful component to learning and remembering. I was listening (stop laughing!) to a keynote speaker one time who said that any time a lesson is truly learned, there was pain involved. Think about that. For all you parents out there, remember that. You're not doing your kids any favors by making their lives any easier! And that's the teacher in me speaking.... don't get me started *rueful smirk*!

So even though it's fall, I've posted some cheery, spring-y, pastel-y earrings made of Swarovski crystals and faceted glass beads on sterling silver wires. $25.

It's amazing what a little pair of earrings can inspire!

Be inspirational!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Little Bit of Autumn

Since this is the first full day of autumn, here's a pair of earrings just for this season. Brass, Swarovski crystal, and pressed glass on sterling wire mimic the falling leaves. $20. I really like working with longer/bigger earrings. I'm always trying to get women to wear them a little bigger. Take the plunge! Make a statement! By putting each segment on its own wire, these earrings move well. If you put too many beads on a single wire, they get all stiff, and when the woman swings her head, watch out! The whole kit and kaboodle makes like a weed eater off the old earlobe.

I think I'm finally getting the hang of the photography thing. I tried and tried to get them against a white background, but it always ended up a dirty white..yuck. So I intentionally gave them a grey background, and viola! The neutral background with a slight graduation of color really makes the colors pop. Add a tiny black border around each one, and it looks like a winner - at least for now. I also like how the macro lens really shows good resolution of the image.

Yesterday, I blogged about rearranging my garage so that I could have a permanent setup for my camera and photography accessories (OK, for my TOYS!). So far, so good! I also think my wife appreciates having the dining room chairs back...

Until the next new thing,

Monday, September 22, 2008

Future Plans...

Hey y'all,

Here's the necklace that goes with yesterday's cuff bracelet. I really like doing these random patterns. I pile a big bunch of coordinating beads onto a paper plate, and start stringing. This necklace is 48 inches long, so it can be worn like a lavaliere, or wrapped up to three times, when it looks like the photo, and is 16 inches. I've done them in champagne colors, yellow, turquoise, green, blue, brown and turquoise, and many others. They sell for $125 and are quite popular.

After reading a bunch of marketing paraphernalia, I've decided that I need to post more often. So....

I'm going to post pictures of whatever comes out of my "studio" (it's actually a garage at this house!). Especially this time of year, one never knows what people want me to make. Sometimes is jewelry, sometimes it's calligraphy, sometimes it's stained glass windows or ornaments, sometimes it's garden designs, sometimes pastels, sometimes watercolor or pencil sketches - WHO KNOWS?! Keep coming back to see what creativity leaks out next!

Today, I rearranged my studio to accommodate my photography equipment, so that it can remain set up at all times. That should allow me to photograph and post without many time consuming middle steps. I heard back from Peachpit on the Etsy website who recommended that although she doesn't sell a lot, it would be worth my time. I guess I need to get into this century and start really using the Internet to my advantage...

If you're ever interested in purchasing anything you see here, please let me know!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Jewelry Time!

Mmm. New camera and new camera setup to capture the nuances and subtleties of my jewelry. I'd like to leave the photography to the experts, but a) they are expensive, and b) I really need nice pix of my stuff so that it doesn't look like somebody's hobby (even though it is...). This is tough stuff. I just need someone to come over and say, "rotate the dial Push this button, and Wham! Perfect picture. I guess everyone is allowed some secret fantasies.
Although my last blogs have been about pastels and plein air, I've made a switcheroo to (semi)precious stones. i need some great ideas for my 2008 collection. A couple years ago, I had to start making annual collections, because otherwise my faithful following would dwindle to nothing because they had everything. It gets a little harder each year, however. I think this year, with the price of gold and silver going through the roof, I might try to do more with colored stones and beads. Last year, I had great success with hammered silver earrings, and although there have been several requests for same, I will probably stay away from too much silver. I don't think my clientele is ready for a doubling of prices!
As far as colors go, I think pink is still good, and lime green and brown are still in enough to use. Black is always the best seller, and it seems as though purple has enjoyed a comeback. As a straight guy trying to navigate the fashion world I need all the help I can get. Comments? Suggestions?
I'm gonna try to get some of my things online to sell. If anyone knows of easy websites/programs/companies to use, please let me know. Several artsy friends have recommended Etsy. Whaddya think?