Looking to 2018

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2017 turned out to be one of the most challenging years of my life. I was faced with a number of personal losses, was forced to admit that the anxiety I was feeling was too much for me to handle without assistance, and I was also able to challenge myself artistically in new and amazing ways.

I have never considered myself a particularly anxious person. Sure, I had anxiety like we all do but I did not see it as impactful to my life. Last June, that changed. Looking back I can see that my anxiety had been slowly building (and was already impacting my life) for a long time, but after the loss of my Grandmother, another family members sudden illness followed by their death. Compounded by other life stresses – I broke. I just snapped. I broke down with a massive anxiety attack that had me hyperventilating, crying and at a complete loss all at once. The location of that pivotal anxiety attack is both horrible and funny simultaneously, though. I was with my husband on the lawn in front of the hospital about to I go in to see my ill family member and I received a series of text messages and a phone call that pushed my stress past the point that my mind and body could handle. Seriously – a major medical event that changed my life forever – on the grounds of a hospital. I should also note that I did not once think of seeing a medical professional in that moment. I find this pretty funny, but I am weird. Once the immediacy of that moment had passed I knew that something had shifted, I felt very disconnected and almost separate from my body and even my mind to a point. Even with that moment having occurred and my mental acknowledgment that something had changed, it still took a few weeks for me to discover just how affected I was by the stress I had been experiencing. After a few weeks of debilitating and near-constant anxiety, I went to the doctor and pretty much begged for assistance.

Thankfully, I received the help I needed so desperately that day and have had a wonderful experience receiving continued support from the clinic I am seeing. Six months later, I am happy to say that I am better. Not all better, but I do not feel as broken as I did for those first few months and I am starting to be able to look at the factors that made the anxiety build before that pivotal moment on the hospital lawn. I will need to continue to utilize the support systems I found through the clinic and in other places, but I am going to embrace the calm and peace the medication I was prescribed has assisted me to find.

Copper and sterling silver pendant - SOLDOn an artistic note, my Mother was nice enough to gift me with Silversmithing lessons at Bedrock Supply here in Edmonton. It was awesome. Andrea of Peanut Gallery Jewelry was an amazing teacher and I out I continue to love the (sometimes overly) complicated and intricate projects. That said, silversmithing is so much fun. The challenge is so different and I am really looking forward to exploring what I can do with this more in 2018. I have posted a few pictures of some of the items I have worked on last year. I do not have much that is finished in this area right now as I wanted to get to a point where I could focus better before playing too much with fire – I strongly felt that a short, anxiety-ridden attention span was a bit of a safety hazard to myself and others.

I am not very active on my blog right now, but I do pop up on Instagram and Facebook intermittently so please do follow my antics on either of these platforms. As always I am also available via email or the contact forms here on my blog.

Thanks for listening and I hope you are having a great 2018!

Kathy

A few other images from 2017:

Technically this is from today – but look at how awesome my iPad is now!

Me and my friend, Stanley, from BlingSquared at the Edmonton Expo in September. I spent the weekend helping him out at his booth, I had an absolute blast! I even managed not to buy everything, instead, I actually facilitated others to buy stuff lol. Check them out at http://www.blingsquared.com

Canada Day Necklace

My take on a Canada Day Necklace

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Not Quite a Pinterest Fail

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Pinterest is a challenging little website when looking for inspiration. On one side, it is a great platform for inspiration where you can share the brilliance of others, on the other, it is a great way to discover just how easy practice can make something look while creating your own “Pinterest Fail”. I have to admit I really only look at Pinterest about 1-2 times a month but when I do login, I love to look at how awesome other jewelry artists are and I often file items into a folder for future inspiration. In a twist of irony, I almost never go back through it for inspiration, thankfully that does not make the platform less fun to browse through.

My best friend’s Mom, Muriel, loves butterflies. Two years ago her late husband asked me to create a wireframe necklace and earring set in sterling silver for Muriel for Christmas. There were a couple of problems with this that ultimately made me unable to provide what he was asking for: 1, I do not actually work with sterling silver; 2, I knew I did not have the skill to produce what he had his heart set upon at the time. As this unfolded, I felt that my inability to create this project for him caused some friction between us that remained unresolved prior to his death. Muriel has told me this was not how he felt – but more importantly I really wanted to be able to do this for him and couldn’t. Not being able to meet that expectation continues to resonate with me because I adored him and just wanted him to be proud of me.

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To view the project that inspired this project please check out the Celtic Butterfly post from Conn on Cut Out and Save.

As I was scrolling past posts on Pinterest in early November, I stumbled upon a wire frame Celtic Butterfly instructional post. I was immediately inspired, not only was this perfect for a shadow box display but they were going to tell me how to do it! Sweet!

I know you are laughing at my hubris – looking back, so am I.

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A close-up view of my Celtic-style butterflies.

I love wire, playing with it, shaping it, using a hammer and anvil to texture, flatten and stiffen it. All of it, love it. However, this was a great lesson in things I could use LOTS more practice in. My first 2 or 3 wing attempts are hilarious they look nothing like a butterfly wing, though they are a pretty impressive mess of wire. After that, I did get a bit more skill and the end results do look like butterflies. I even like them, but they did not look like something I would create. As soon as I realized that, expressing this project within my own style became important, then the project really unfolded. It became so much more than what I would have created using another person’s vision.

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The 3 butterflies on the top right are the Celtic-style butterflies. The bottom left is the first of the 5 butterflies included in the shadowbox.

The time that I spent on the Celtic-styled butterflies was essential however. These plans gave me the shape and structure of the butterfly, it also gave me the certainty that I could reproduce this in a style that was my own. My failure to produce a replica of someone else work actually provided me with the confidence to pursue my own vision of this project.

I love how each of these butterflies turned out. I love how the challenge of failing provided me with confidence in myself. I love how much Muriel loved the completed shadow box. I also love how it allowed me to fulfill a promise to someone I loved, even after they are gone. This project may not have been as beautiful without a Pinterest fail and the lessons it taught me. I love how it forced me to own and acknowledge that I have a style that is my own and that I can produce something amazing that is all my own vision.

Kathy

Check Look Shiny Things on EtsyFacebook and Instagram (NEW) for more!

If you would like to discuss a custom order or something you have viewed on the site please contact me here or message me on Facebook.

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The completed shadowbox.

What Happens When You Mix Sea Glass, Wire and a Tiny Anvil

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Sea Glass PendantAs you can likely tell from the title I bought myself a tiny anvil (it is actually about 5 inches long and about 5 lbs, so not that tiny), so that I can shape and stiffen wire to make more artistic or complex shapes. To learn how to make the wire work the way you want it to, you have to just play. This means you have a whole bunch of pieces of wire all shaped and flattened (some of them are even nice) and no immediate use for them. The lack of use for the wire sort of demotivated me. I really like finishing things and not being able to place the wire into a piece of jewelry was just frustrating for me.

It's a car!

It’s a car!

Thankfully, I have an awesome friend who brought me back a huge bag of Sea Glass fresh from the beaches she wandered on her vacation. Without any holes to string the glass, I knew I would have to wrap the glass in wire – this was not an upsetting development. As I played with wrapping the glass, I kept having my little sculptural wire sections get in my way on my work area. Right up until I realized that I could integrate these little wire segments onto the glass and make amazing one of a kind pendants with the two elements.

All of the pendants will be strung on either a bright copper chain or a stainless steel chain. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Kathy

Check Look Shiny Things on Etsy or Facebook for more!

A Clients Big Day – Wedding Collection Update

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My awesome client sent me this great photo of herself and her daughter from her wedding on Saturday. It was so nice to see how she used the headpieces from the wedding collection I created for her within their hair on the big day. I love how Ciara has overlapped the headpieces within her hair! And how adorable is her daughter!LST-ClientImage_CKWeddingCollection-wm

If you are interested in seeing the entire collection, please check out Wedding Collection – a First! for all the details on the full collection.

Congratulations again Ciara and Kyle! May your life be as bright and wonderful as your wedding day.

Visit my Etsy Shop or on my Facebook Page if you are looking for something special and would like to discuss a custom piece, send me a message. I would love to hear from you!

Kathy

Photo Courtesy of Ciara Kozak and Shawn Allen Photography

Wedding Collection – a First!

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I recently had the opportunity to create an entire collection of pieces for a Wedding. I cannot say how happy I am with how it all turned out!

LST_CiaraWedding-6Ciara is bright, funny, compassionate, and full of life; on top of being an amazing Mom to a great 7-year-old. I wanted to give her something that would reflect her bright and quirky personality on her wedding day. What we came up with were headpieces forming flexible flowered branches that had a longer handle that could be bent or twisted to assist her affixing the three branches in her hair. One of the challenges I soon encountered was with the little flowers within the arrangement, it turns out that the weight of this cluster of freshwater pearls required a much thicker wire than what I would typically use for the wrap. However, after playing a bit I discovered that using a heavier gauge wire as the core of the branch was enough to give it the stability it needed to stand up. The mix of black freshwater pearls and crystals wrapped within the titanium wire is a lovely combination. The titanium adds a subtle lightness to the branches without drawing attention away from the pearls. Each branch is also a little different from the next, adding character and personality to the cluster of branches.

LST_CiaraWedding-2Ciara also asked me to create 2 anklets, one for her Mom and one for her Maid-of-honor. Ciara’s Mom is bright, vivacious, and outgoing and loves a little sparkle. To reflect these qualities I used crystals with rich and varied colors, when combined the effect is spectacular! I have to admit that this might be my favorite piece of the entire series.

LST_CiaraWedding-1As a contrast, Ciara’s Maid-of-honor is a little more understated. She does not really love a lot of sparkle (a nice challenge for me because I do) and her favorite color is blue. The day before I created this piece I had actually gone to a rock and gemstone show here in Edmonton and picked up the blue faced aquamarine. I did not get it with this piece in mind but it works so nicely with the wrapped sodalite chips and the black freshwater pearls and was the inspiration for the anklet. Wrapping the sodalite added a lovely sense of movement and drama that I hope she will enjoy.

LST_CiaraWedding-5I really wanted to have a sense of connection and continuity for all of the jewelry, to give this amazing collection of people a sense of connection through the jewelry on this special day. Since the black freshwater pearls were such a huge element in Ciara’s headpiece, I wanted to keep this element within all the other pieces while making them stand on their own as individual pieces. As I was wiring the last of the headpieces for Ciara, I had a flash of inspiration to create a single mini headpiece for Ciara’s daughter. The really fun part of this piece is that it is a reflection of her Mothers and Grandmother’s jewelry as well. I used the crystals from her Grandmother’s anklet and the pearls and style of her Mother’s headpiece. I love how this turned out!LST_CiaraWedding-11

LST_CiaraWedding-9Finally (solely for myself) I created the earrings. Ciara has stretched earlobes so these will not work for her, but once I thought of them I just needed to create them.

I truly hope that Ciara and her family enjoy these pieces for years to come!

Come visit me on Etsy or on my Facebook Page or even send me a message if you are interested in a custom piece yourself. I would love to hear from you! 

Kathy

Something Special and Just Started!

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I know this does not look like much now but give me a few more hours and a lot more wire and this black freshwater pearl and titanium wire structure will soon be a beautiful addition to a client’s special day! This design will be a little different as it is very reflective of a unique and fabulous client to help her stand out on her wedding day.

I am really excited to see how it turns out so be sure to check back for an update!

Black freshwater pearls, titanium wire and crystals will add a beautiful touch to a special wedding day/

Black freshwater pearls, titanium wire and crystals will add a beautiful touch to a special wedding day

Connect with me on Facebook or Etsy too!

Art Exhibit – Dow Centennial Centre February 2016

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I have some amazingly talented siblings. Both of my sisters have graduated with fine arts degrees from the University of Alberta, one for design and one for painting. My sister, Elizabeth, with the painting degree, has spent the last 2 years planning for her first art show where she was the featured artist. On February 5th the show launched at the Alberta Lottery Fund Art Gallery at the Dow Alberta Lottery Fund Art Gallery in the Dow Centennial Centre in Fort Saskatchewan. So Cool.

Wop MayAs Elizabeth was preparing for the show I was able to see the paintings at regular intervals as they evolved. As I do not have anything close to her ability to paint, it was so fascinating to see her put a little spot of paint on the canvas and see a plane or building come to life. There was one painting in particular that made all the bells and whistles of my jewellery making brain go off. As I explained what I was seeing in my brain to Elizabeth, somehow it evolved into me creating a small number of pieces inspired by her paintings.

Necklace and Earrings inspired by Air Tower painting by Elizabeth Heth.

Necklace and Earrings inspired by Air Tower painting by Elizabeth Heth.

I have never worked to interpret another medium as a piece of jewelry before. It made an interesting challenge to make a piece of jewelry that reflected another person’s work and vision while keeping it unique. This show was centered upon small airplanes, Elizabeth has painted a number of other avionic themed pieces before, however, I have little or no experience with airplanes at all. This made my first wire forms a little sad when I look at them now. However, with her assistance, I am really proud of the evolution of the airplanes that evolved for the show.

Wildfire Earrings

Wildfire Earrings

If you are in the Edmonton area and are looking for something to do check out the Dow Centennial Centre website for the gallery hours and please visit. Elizabeth’s work is amazing and it was really awesome for me to see my own work in an art gallery! I hope everyone is able to get this kind of opportunity, it is awesome! If you are not able to get out to the show I hope you enjoy the photos.

Until next time,

Kathy

The Jewelry and the Paintings that Inspired Them.

Alberta Lottery Fund Art Gallery Exhibition

Check out: elizabethhethart.ca

Visit the brand new LookShinyThingsShop on Etsy and like Look Shiny Things on Facebook.

Etsy, here I come…

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I have finally opened up my Etsy Shop!
I know I have been saying it would happen for at least 2 years. Well, it finally has taken place. That said not everything is on there, I had to start somewhere and the photos I just finished editing seemed to be a good place to start. Please let me know if you see something you love that is not on there and I will be able to add it for you.
20160209-DSC_0623I have been up to a few other things as well lately that I will write more on tomorrow I hope but to tease you they involve an art gallery and wire trees… Are you curious yet, here are a couple of pictures to tease you a little more.
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Until tomorrow (I hope)!
Kathy

Wild Rose Craft Show!!!

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On November 29th, 2015 I will be joining 40 other extremely talented vendors to showcase my lovely jewelry at the Wild Rose Christmas Craft Show! I am so excited to provide you with a small hint of some of what you will see in 2 weeks!

  
Be sure to check out (and like) my Facebook page for more hints on just a little of what I will be bringing with me and the show Facebook Event page for more details on other vendors too!

See you there!

Kathy

On Either Side of a Cloud

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I had a crapy day today. I ended up really frustrated and mad at the day, when a day like this happens I am really good at being hard on myself. I get a little tunnel vision and all I see is what is bad.

Today I chose a health diversion and came home to make jewelry. After working on some commission work I realized that what I needed was a little bit of sun.

Depression creates a kind of tunnel vision, all you see is cloud. The sun and the birds get lost in this fog and you forget they are there. I gave a pair of these earrings to a friend of mine once when she was struggling a bit. There might be a cloud but above it the sun is always there. Below it the birds are still there. You might just need to hold out while the cloud clears as it always does.