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1/20/2013: Treasures!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

We all have treasures in our lives. People we love. Beloved items from our childhood. For me, some of the most treasured items I have belonged to those I have loved in my life. I lost my mom 9 years ago on 1/24/2004. She is never far from my thoughts, but this time of year always makes me yearn to pick up the phone and talk to her or run to WV for a much needed Mom hug. My mom was the kindest woman I have ever known. She would, quite literally, give you the shirt off her back. As with every mother-daughter relationship, ours was sometimes testy. We had/have the same stubborn streak which kept us at odds over some silly things at times. One thing in particular that used to bug me to pieces was her tendency to keep everything. I mean, absolutely everything. It used to drive me batty till recently when I discovered (or admitted) that I am much more like my mother than I ever believed.

While I may be able to let go of far more things than my mother ever could, I am still a pack rat. I find things that are beautiful to me and stash them away. Sometimes I may have a vague idea of what I want to do with them, but for the most part I just love them. I love the way they look, the way they feel in my hands, or the fact that they have been well loved, either by someone I knew or some stranger in the past. I marvel at old things with patina...remnants of loving or working hands that have used the item long before it found its way into my every increasing arsenal. Mr. Virgo is a darling about it. He has paid for me to move my treasure trove THREE times now!

One of my goals with working from home and writing this blog is to document transitions. Downsizing and getting rid of all these wonderful things is distressing to think about. In the past, when something was distressing to think about, I was most inclined to just not think about it. Like Scarlett, "I'll think about it tomorrow!". Now I have learned if something is distressing to think about, I need to change my way of thinking about it. In cleaning up and organizing this space for my studio, I looked at the mass of "stuff" I have accumulated and thought, "These are my treasures! How can I get rid of these?" Now that things are more organized and I have created a space where I can bring my ideas to life, there has been a shift in that thinking.

I was sitting at my bench yesterday with no idea of what to make. I thought I should probably get some jewelry beaded so I can have more inventory. I piddled around with some pretty chartreuse stones I've been wanting to string, but the juices weren't flowing. I have to be inspired if what I make is going to have any feeling in it. So I sat, closed my eyes, and talked to Mom. Here's the conversation:

"Hey, Mom. How ya doin'?"

"I'm good, Sis. What's up?"

"Well, I'm stuck. I've got all this great stuff, but like you, I can't get rid of it."

"Yeah, that's a tough one, isn't it? I never got rid of anything either. You never knew when someone might need something. Remember that time when Patty needed little containers to hold her paint when she was working on a project? Well, I had all those little containers that salad dressing comes in at the drive through. I had them all washed and in a bag and sure enough, they were the perfect thing for her!"

"I remember that! But, these are my treasures!"

"I know, honey. These are the things that bring you joy. But maybe if you share them with others, you can bring them joy, too."

"Well, I have donated a lot of craft supplies to charity, but there was no way to know for sure if they brought anyone joy."

"OK, then...why don't you take your treasures, assemble them into little pieces of art that people can carry around and look at and love the way you loved them?"

"You mean like jewelry?"

"I mean like anything you want to do, just pay it forward. Send your love of these treasures out into the world. Set them free. You'll feel better about letting go and others will feel better about having them. Especially if there's a story behind it. You're really good at telling stories. Tell your stories in your art."

"Hey, that's a great idea, Mom! Thanks!"

"Anytime, Sis...I'm always here for you."

And so, these are my "Treasures". Little pieces of art you can wear. Little art galleries you hang around your neck. And when someone asks you about them, tell them these were my treasures. Tell them the stamps are from the bags and bags of stamps my mom collected. The illustrations are actually cut out of Ladies' Needlework magazines from 1904. The little brass charms are leftovers from my needlework shop. The scrap paper is from a stash I've had for a gazillion years just waiting for the right project to come along. The background paper is really cool. I found an old classic literature textbook dated 1939 from Louisiana State University in a thrift store for a nickel. I tore the page from "Antony and Cleopatra". I wanted to age it even more, so I tried dabbing coffee on it but it wasn't dark enough. So I dabbed vanilla extract on it (from a big bottle I brought back from Mexico in 1989...oh my gosh...I AM my mother!) and sprinkled some curry powder on it for little dabs of color. I popped the whole thing into a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes till it was dry then brushed the extra curry powder off. Voila! Beautiful! Then I stamped the paper with this huge rubber stamp I have for backgrounds using sepia ink. I chose stamps from Italy to go with the theme of "Antony and Cleopatra". I layered all of this on dominos as my base. I have seen these for sale all over the internet, but I haven't seen anything this complex...this detailed...and certainly not with this kind of story behind it!

There you have it...an entirely different line of jewelry. Once I get them finished, and get my props for photographing my jewelry, I will get pics and prices posted. I hope you enjoy my treasures as much as I have.

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