art, Blog, creativity, Lapidary, retirement

Creativity

Day 19

When I decided to retire, I did not give a lot of thought about how I would spend my time. I knew I would take some classes and do some traveling and visit family, but as far as how I might choose to spend the majority of my waking hours, I just did not consider it.

After working for so long, you imagine what retirement will be like. For me, it has been wonderful. I have not missed going to a full time job and working for someone else. Even when I had my own business, I was always working for someone else — my clients. Sure, I could set my own hours but there were still demands. I wanted my retirement to be as ‘demand free’ as possible.

Dreams Realized

I have always self-identified as an artist. I am unfortunately not disciplined enough to work hours on end, apply to shows, advertise and sell my work. I just love to create and I do it for my own satisfaction more than anything else.

meteredLearning to cut stones has always been a dream of mine so I was really excited when I discovered the arts and crafts school here offered lapidary classes. I have taken the same class many times because I do not have the equipment to do the grinding at home. It is also a very messy proposition, which requires a studio dedicated to this type of work.

This morning was my last lapidary class. I finished a few metered pieces and worked on a few freehand pieces. I am always sad to see my classes come to an end because I lose myself in the work.

Silver Jewelry

My other dream was to make more jewelry using sterling or fine silver. I have done a lot of bead work, but as I age and my eyes get worse, it is harder to work with beads. My mind usually goes to the more asymmetrical designs which is not always the design of choice for people buying jewelry. I still make survival bracelets for victims of sexual abuse, but not much else.

engagement ringsI took several classes in Florida before we moved to North Carolina. I even made engagement rings for my daughter and my now daughter-in-law. Talk about stressful! I have taken a few classes since, but again, this work again requires specialized equipment and a dedicated workspace. I love this work even if I do not have a studio of my own.

This coming weekend I am taking a workshop with Molly Sharp. She is an incredibly talented jewelry designer and silversmith. She is also a kind and effective teacher. I am really looking forward to the class this weekend – I’m sure you will hear and see more about it after the workshop is over.

The Urge to Create

Taking continuous classes is not fiscally possible so I have been looking for something creative to do when I am not enrolled in art classes. I have been so inspired by Maitri Libellule and her whimsical watercolors of Anna. They are bright and beautiful and unapologetically Maitri.

watercolor pencilsI have also been drawn to the sketches of Lisa Wagner, who writes an amazing blog entitled “Places of the Spirit”. She has also been spending some time creatively and sharing that work on her blog. So, between the two of these talented women, I have been inspired to try to do a few drawings. I picked up some new watercolor pencils at Michaels, so I will see where this takes me.

These are the activities that I dreamed I would have more time for once retired. So far, I have been successful, but I am really looking forward to having more rainy day activities that do not require a studio and an elaborate equipment set up.

Driveway
As I left for class, the view out my front door morning was delightful. I love this area and now that the trees are starting to turn, I especially love the view. The dogwood trees are finally showing color from top to bottom and it will not be long before the leaves are blanketing my driveway.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” 
Maya Angelou

 

 

 

Blog, Lapidary, rainy day, Sleepy, Weather

Rainy Day Musings

Day 12

It is a rainy day here in the foothills. I did not sleep well last night so I was tired when the alarm went off at 7:00 am. Since retiring I rarely set an alarm, but on Tuesdays I have a 9:00 am class. I get up, have a cup of coffee and a small breakfast, chat with my daughter for a few minutes as she drives to work, and then get dressed and out the door.

Rainy Day Blahs

I love my lapidary class so I am always anxious to get up and go. This morning, though, I actually contemplated going back to bed. I was tired and not in the right frame of mind to do the meticulous work required. Of course, I talked myself out of skipping class as I knew I would.

The doors were not open when I arrived, so I walked around the grounds of the school for a bit. I had a chance to pet a dog someone was walking and snap a couple of pictures of the flowers growing outside the entrance. That’s where the pleasantries ended.

I spent the first hour and a half working on a lovely stone. It was difficult to shape and very messy. The water was like a red clay bath. I was almost finished cutting the girdle and refining the shape of the stone when I heard a slight ‘crunch’ sound. I knew immediately the stone snapped.

At that point there was nothing to do but move on. I made the decision to cut the stone into a different shape and put it aside. I have learned when I get frustrated with a particular piece, it’s best to move on and work on something new. I had a piece of blue lace agate that would make two nice sized cabochons so I turned my attention to it.

lapidary.JPGUsually on Tuesday afternoon I like to post a pic on Instagram of the pieces I finished in class. Well, there will be no Instagram pics today. Everything is still in progress. Next week is my last class so I have three pieces in progress to focus on.

We think we can always do everything on our plates in a given day even if we are not hitting on all cylinders. I learned today that is not the case. Maybe taking the day to rest from a rather sleepless night would have been a better choice. I ended up frustrated and stressed.

Lessons Learned

GirlWashYourFaceI think I should listen to the advice I give so freely to others. Rest. Take it easy. Give yourself a break. Take a moment. All great advice if I would simply listen to my own counsel. My mom always used to say, “Listen to your gut”. Today I should have listened.

My daughter told me about an audio book she was listening to. She was so excited about it, I decided to buy a copy and put it aside for a day — well — a day like today. Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis was (and may still be) #1 on the New York Times best sellers list. If I had listened to my gut, I could have stayed home, enjoyed a cup of tea and read a good book while the rain soothed my soul. Next time I think I’ll listen.

“Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.” 
Bill Watterson