Shelving Creative Pursuits For A Bit

I’m doing the mom thing.  It’s just one of those times where I’ve had to put my art aside for a bit.  The retreat was wonderful, but it really sapped my energy.  Since the retreat family stuff has pretty much taken up all my energy.  Last week was the end of the summer competitive swim season for our local pool club.  Practices, Time Trials and Championships.  And the weekend has been a whirlwind of picking E up from 7 weeks of working as a dishwasher then counselor at camp, and dropping M off for a final session of camp.

Now we’ve got 10 days until we hit the road to take E out to college and (sniff, sniff) leave her there.  She’s heading out to Ohio, which is a long way away from Connecticut.  She’s our oldest and it’s hard to believe the day is so near.  The time in between is full of doctor’s appointments, shopping, parties and a zillion last minute-y things.

Personally I find it hard to feel super inspired during times like this.  My brain is buzzing with lists instead of designs.  It’ll come back, but in the mean time the studio is quiet.

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All that other stuff

I’ve been caught up in miscellaneous family stuff and haven’t managed to get into the studio for several days.  It’s the typical ebb and flow of the family life versus creative life struggle.  My brain keeps busy in the background with design ideas etc., but my hands are taking a break.  My sister came for a short visit (yeah!), and there have been several trips out to the corner of the state for camp pickups with the girls.  M’s session of camp ended and E’s home for a quick overnight and doctor’s appointment before I take her back to camp to work another session.  It’s a weird combination of busy and not busy.

Studio time will have to be in shorter blocks of time again as M and I settle into the routine of swim team practices and all that jazz.  Regrouping and refocusing creative energy during these kind of seasonal shifts always gets me off track for a bit.  I am planning to work on making some simple metal bases when I next manage some studio time.  That’s pretty mindless work.  Mindless work is great when I’ve got lots of stops and starts.  I’d like to make some more basic canes, spirals, stripes and bullseyes in different colors, but I’m thinking I need something more mindless first.

Boxes are pretty basic.  Or circle pendant shapes.  Basic sawing and forming.  Minimal soldering.  I’ll let you know how it works out.

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Stuff I love – Trays

I have no idea what started me thinking about this subject, but I thought I’d write about one of my favorite studio supplies today: trays. I’ve got 2 distinct favorites, cafeteria trays in full and half size and the half size square jeweler’s trays.

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Put a piece of bead mat (or vellux blanket) on one of these trays and you’ve got the perfect portable beading station. When I am working on a project that requires a lot of different beads, such as a freeform peyote bracelet, I use a cafeteria tray as a work surface and one of the small jeweler’s trays to hold the extra tubes of beads. I love how portable the trays are, and how you can stack them out of the way even full of beads.

The small jeweler’s trays are perfect for coralling a collection of bits and bobs:

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The cafeteria trays are handy for polymer clay too. I like to use them to hold sheets of clay when I go on a color mixing spree. I wrap a sheet of color in a plastic deli sheet and then toss that onto a tray.

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I’ve got trays spread all around the studio. It’s a messy, but effective way to keep a color palette together. The smaller cafeteria trays are also a handy place to stage a selection of canes when I am working on a project.

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