16 Nov 2015

Bad weather has at least made me productive

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.   Stephen King. 

I’m afraid that I don’t have any [non-jewellery] new photographs to include in this post, bad weather over about the last three weeks has ensured that we’ve hardly left the house for anything other than work, food shopping and appointments.  Which is driving me a bit bonkers frankly – I’ve not had any opportunity to capture the fabulous autumn colours this year – and now the leaves have pretty much been stripped from the trees in the torrential rain.

The very few nice days we have had have fallen at times when it’s not been possible to take advantage (like right now, when I have the kiln running and orders to fulfill).  It has however forced me to be very productive and I’ve got done a lot of work that has been in the “I really must make an effort to get that done” category.

I live in a perpetual state of having far too many items in my shop as out of stock or ‘made to order’.  It is my practice, if something sells, but I know that I could re-make it, to mark it as ‘made to order’  If someone then orders such an item, I try to make at least two of them, so that I can return it to stock.

But having recently sold a couple of items that appeared to be in stock (only because I forgot to tick the stock control button), but weren’t, I decided that it was time to do a proper audit of my shop and check the stock status of all listings.  I also took the opportunity to review what I had for sale and decided to simply delete a lot of older items.  It was a largely tedious task with almost 800 items listed in my shop – many of which are in the sold section – but also most therapeutic to delete over a hundred of the older pieces to get the numbers more manageable.

During this audit, I realised just how many of my repeat good sellers were not in stock, so I spent one very full-on week addressing many of them and returned over 20 pieces to stock – which was very hard work, but most rewarding too.  I still have many more to do the same task with, but I felt pretty smug for a short while that I’d actually faced it.

Sometimes procrastination can work for you:

Whilst in the midst of this task, I wanted a particular shaped component which I was pretty sure I already had a couple made and knew just where they’d be.  I’d started a particular necklace some months ago, but simply couldn’t get it to work how I wanted, so in frustration, I packed all the components into a bag and dropped it into my WIP drawer – also known as my procrastination drawer – to return to on another day – and, as they do, the months had passed.

Said component was in the bag, but having got all the other gubbins out, I decided to have a tinker with the original design too and unlike the original session with it, the work just flowed.  I found myself totally absorbed with it and went on to finish it completely that day.  The result is the flower garland necklace shown in the gallery below.  I’ve done various versions of this design before, but this has many more flowers over a wider span than earlier incarnations and features bronze as well as copper.  It’s funny how the state of mind on a different day can make such a difference to how the creative mood flows.  I’m pretty certain that the time delay has resulted in a better piece, for various reasons.

Tinkering with white bronze:

My first 'test' pieces in Prometheus white bronze, before firing.  I prefer to make actual pieces as tests, rather than just waste material making test squares - this way I get to learn how it handles in practice too.
My first ‘test’ pieces in Prometheus white bronze, before firing. I prefer to make actual pieces as tests, rather than just waste material making test squares – this way I get to learn how it handles in practice too.

My current adventure is with a new material; white bronze clay.  There have been other versions and brands on the market, but the one I’m trying is by Prometheus and is nickel free, which many non-EU produced white bronzes aren’t.  This brand will allow me to combine it with bronze and copper on the same piece – something I’ve been wanting to do for some time.  My first batch are in the kiln as I type, so cross your fingers for me – my next post is sure to be about the success or otherwise of that process.

My work this week:

I’ve popped some photos of recent finished pieces into the gallery below and they each have captions to describe them.  You can click on any of them and it opens a pop up window and you can scroll through the full set.