Kickin’ Winter Blues

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Self Portrait with Brooch. And Dramatic Lighting.

Cold and cloudy, northern PA winters inevitably make me feel like hibernating, hence the double sweater combo above. Fortunately, between a bit of traveling and some very special projects, I have resisted the urge to curl up in blankets and snore the day away, unlike my cats.

Every January I count on the East Carolina University Metals Symposium to kick my winter blues.  With inspiring lectures, demos, and exhibitions, this year was no exception.  And of course, I love having the opportunity to meet and reconnect with incredible thinkers, makers, and craftspeople.  Highlights included a thoughtful artist talk by Lauren Tickle, a pin back workshop by Marissa Saneholtz, the Smitten Forum 2015 exhibition, and chatting with both Mr. Chris Hentz and Mr. Leslie LePere.

Being in North Carolina, I decided to hop on over to Asheville to see my good friend, Jo Anna Hickman, who is currently a craft fellow at Warren Wilson College.  The whipping wind of an impending snow storm kept me from exploring Asheville, but I was able to preview the craft fellows’ exhibition.  I was especially delighted by the felted dress forms and mixed media Miniature Collection of Jess Self.

After a week on the road, I was ready to get back to the bench, and I had a few projects lined up!  On the docket were two custom pendants and a brooch.  I still have one pendant pending, but for now I’m happy to share what happened with that empty setting pictured above.  If you’ve read my post, Old Experiments, New Thoughts, you know that I am exploring empty settings and thinking about the question, “Is this seat taken?”  Although that seat was, in fact, spoken for, I had to photograph the piece before setting the enamel.  I decided to wear the brooch, on a whim, and snap a shot.  It has turned out to be one of my favorite images, and I wonder if it is because this piece now only exists as an image. . .  In any case, here is the actual, finished piece, a donation to Contemporary Craft for their annual benefit auction, Out of Hand!

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Embers spark fires.

Here’s to this piece melting someone’s heart and finding a home in a lover of the handmade!

KLE