Silk Creek Metalworks

On Life and Craft


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Playtime! Lessons from Kindergarten

Etched Brass Necklace with Vintage Style Floral Design

     Do you remember back in Kindergarten when we had that wonderful time in the day called “Free play?”  There was a point in the day when our tiny, bouncy selves just couldn’t sit still any longer.  We would wait in anxious anticipation for that blissful moment when we were finally set free to jump all over the place, talk too loud and as much as we wanted, and mess around with all kinds of stuff.  There were art supplies, stuffed animals, games, and toys of every size and color! Maybe they were kind of educational, but we didn’t know. What a great moment! Do you remember being so excited that you wanted to run around and grab one of everything? Oh, it was so hard to decide!

     This winter, I have been a kindergartner at free play. Yup, that’s me, with the stuffed ladybug in one hand and as many crayons as I can carry in the other. I’ve got a plan to play Hungry Hippos with Julie and I’ll be doing seven head stands before I’m done because Johnny said I couldn’t do it. I’m going to sing a song, too. It’s a good one that I made up all by myself so I need to find a tambourine and a pink tutu with sparkles on it for my rock star show.  Basically, I have been into anything and everything I can possibly get my hands on.

     January and February are by far the slowest months for most of us crafters and artisans.  I thought I was just going to take it easy for a spell but that wasn’t going to work. I tried, believe me! I think it was the day that I sent a text to my boyfriend at work asking him if he would mind if I painted the kitchen furniture orange, that I realized that the Life of Riley was not exactly for me.  I waited and he did not respond.

     Realizing that it was time take action on something of a creative nature, I dug around the garage for something to mess with and found a surprise stash of paints. I couldn’t find anything to paint on in there and that’s why our dart board backing now looks like this:

dart-board-backing-art

     Having more time than I’m used to, the days opened up for me try some new things and branch outside of my comfort zone a little.  I started taking pictures on my hikes and then playing with photo editing programs to make them look magical.

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     I also tried some baking! I invented my own cinni-mini-ginger cookies and they were a hit!  Then I learned what happens when you trust an “eyeball-it” bread recipe invented by a guy named Meat Muffin who you met on the road.  You get a giant scary bread monster.  Then you poke two eyeballs in it and name it Herman.  That’s what happens.

     I tried sewing skirts with recycled fabric, making little clay sculptures, and discovered the amazing world of paint textures. I also developed a slightly unhealthy addiction to Pinterest, which really only leads to a backyard full of wooden pallets, glass bottles, and other random items intended for use in all of the great DIY projects that have flooded that horribly habit-forming website.

     Eventually, I got around to applying my sudden onset of Crafty ADHD to exploring new avenues in my own field of jewelry and metalwork.  I jumped into the vast world of online learning and found techniques I’d never even heard of! Textures, patinas, and forming, oh my!!! It’s amazing what can happen in the studio when the pressure to produce is lifted and you’ve got a head so full of ideas that they’re coming out of your ears!

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     I have so many experiments and works in progress that are almost ready for their debut and the ideas just keep rolling in!

work-in-progress-tree-texture

     But, of course, I am still that wild kindergartner who needs to try everything so I set them aside for a moment to see if I could get an article in my local community paper.

It turned out that I could!

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     I also attended an online presentation about using my blog software and learned how to link a photo (like the one above) to a webpage (like the webpage where you can read my article).  Go ahead, try it! Just click on the picture and shazam! There you are! Pretty cool, right?

     My next projects include exploring a bunch of new jewelry techniques (I have a list!) and finishing the amazing pieces in waiting. Plus, I have some exciting events and opportunities to prepare for, some fun shows and festivals to apply for, and some stores and galleries I’d like to visit.  From all of this I am happily distracted this week by a messy garage that is soon to be a comfortable extra room in the house.  Why? Because every growing metal smith needs a roommate who is covered in tattoos, breathes fire at parties, knows how to weld just about anything, and is willing to teach her how to do it.  Yup! I get to learn how to make SCULPTURES!

     The thought of learning how to weld has been making me act like an ACTUAL kindergartner.  I’ve been bouncing around and running in circles telling everyone about my great ideas for sculptures no matter what they’re in the middle of doing at the time.  The facts that festival season is on it’s way and I have a bunch of new techniques to try have been making me pretty bouncy too.  I feel like everything is just beginning for me and that there’s no where to go from here but up and up! All it really took to get that wonderful feeling was to go a little outside of my normal routine, and try some things that I’ve never done before!  I’ve got to tell you it’s amazing, and that I’d recommend a little “free play time” to anyone.

     It looks like the Spring show and festival season is going to be mighty busy, but in a good way that keeps me creating and building my little jewelry business the way I like it.  I think that sometime between my current projects and when the Spring season goes into full launch, I’ll take some time to remember the second most wonderful thing about being in Kindergarten…  Some cookies, some milk, and a good comfy nap.

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The Zen Master Fuzz Bucket- Expert at Naps