Friday, March 9, 2018

Yes, I'm Alive! An update and photo gallery

So, I haven't written in this blog since September -- the longest I've stayed silent on this thing since I created the page. Oops. Well, for all three of my consistent readers, yes, I am alive and well, and still making jewelry.

I've been MIA for a good reason, mainly in that I've been working my butt off in both my jewelry and music careers. I've been teaching at seven different locations and have a couple of regular music gigs -- and even got a mosaic accepted into a gallery! It's been rewarding and tiring at the same time.

I really love teaching fused glass and enjoy interacting with seniors, but having to deal with "personalities" on the job again has taken some getting used to. Most of my experiences == especially with my students -- have been great, but I've have some not-so-good encounters with the administrative folks. I didn't expect this to be an issue while working as a private contractor, but I suppose this type of situation will come up at any job. It was naive of me to think I could avoid it just because I'm a freelancer.

There are definite pros and cons to being on my own. A big pro is that I get to experience many different types of jobs. While some people prefer being at the same place every day, I love to switch up my environments. The Atria group has been particularly good to me and has had me teach at a few different locations. Also, I make more per hourly class than I would per hour at a salaried job.

On the other hand, these gigs are flimsy and can end at any time, especially if a senior home lacks the budget for freelancers. The good news, though. is that there are always more gigs waiting for me. I'm constantly having to hustle and make calls, but you can find jobs in strange places... like cemeteries or historical societies (this one is still pending, so hopefully, more details to come).

Meantime, I'm still making jewelry -- and art! I've been expanding my repertoire to include glass mosaics:

I call these pieces "Shout In A Dream," "Skyline At Night" and "Anywhere You Go." I'm especially proud of the Skyline piece, which took forever to make. That's an 18 X 20 inch canvas, so it's enormous -- and it's made of 230 fused glass parts (about 1000 altogether, if you count how many little pieces I cut and fused).

My mosaic "Winter Frost" was accepted into the Rockaway Artist Association's exhibit, "Of Women," which is on display through April 8, in honor of Women's History Month. I'll be at the gallery for the opening this weekend and will take a photo of it hanging.

Now that I'm growing beyond jewelry, I'd really like to make some glass sculptures. But first, I need a larger kiln. I adore my microwave kilns, but they only fit small pieces. I'm saving up to buy a medium-sized table top kiln and will work my way up from there.

In order to get into the sculpture mode, though, I've been playing with different glass fusing techniques. Lately, I've been working with molds and glass frit, which is chopped glass. The granules can be fine, medium or coarse -- very much like in enamel. But you place the bits into a mold and can cast different shapes. I made these pendants using my heart mold:

There are hundreds of molds out there, but again, most of them only fit into larger kilns. I've been having fun making these and it's great practice for when I eventually mold bigger pieces.

As you can see, I've had a lot going on. Before I end this, one last bit of news: I FINALLY have a professional website. Check out Naomi's Designs for photo galleries and my online store! The site even links to this blog. Etsy has been great and I'm sticking with it, but I like having my own shop, where I don't have to worry about constantly relisting items. That 20 cents per listing doesn't sound like much, but it adds up when you have over 300 items in your Etsy store -- especially since listings expire after four months. In my personal shop, I can list up to 1500 items and simply leave them.

So, that's what's been going on in my life. Take a look at Naomi's Designs, keep reading this blog and look forward to updates on my jewelry and art career. Thanks for stopping by. It's been way too long!

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