Monday, March 7, 2011

New Creations Springing Forth!

There's a lot going on this week! I leave Wednesday for a conference in Seattle sponsored by the American Foundation f/t Blind (AFB), the Washington School f/t Blind and the National Association of Parents of Children who are Visually Impaired (NAPVI). This is a first time conference that coincides with a conference I've been going to for 10 years in California. There were a couple of reasons I chose to go to this new conference instead of one I've loved attending for so long, the main one being a freind with AFB, Scott Truax, expected this conference to be a real first time success for everyone - let's hope so! Another big reason is the other parents I hope to see in the Pacific Northwest who I've been corrosponding with for years, but have never met; finally, a chance to meet some of them, as well as the professionals in the area who aren't often able to get to the California conference.
 I've been making all kinds of new things - and some of the standards - for the conference, but we've been celebrating around here because I finally have gotten some new designs cast in pewter, and gotten the hang of a cople of techniques that I'd just not really run with. I'm able to make my own designs, organization logos, most anything, and for the first time - quite easily!

There has been a somewhat unknown jewelry product available to people in the craft arena for years. It's called metal clay, and for those of you who do art/craft work, it's worked and sculpted a bit like polymer clay. Metal clays, however, are fired several different ways - I use a kiln or a torch - and when it is, everything burns out of it (rather magically) leaving only the desired metal shape. The "always friends" pendant is made from silver metal clay, which becomes fine silver (.999%) silver after it's fired.I earned Level One teaching certification in 2005, and have played and taught a bit with the silver since then, but the work most people wanted from me seemed to be pieces made with the individual cell tiles I designed for the alphabet bracelet. So, I inadvertently got passed by as newer, more easily worked - and by far, cheaper - clays became available in copper, bronze, steel and even glass. I'm determined to play catch-up, and have begun working with a couple of University of North Texas metals students who are brainstorming - a HUGE ingredient for creativity - with me and my witty, comm design prof. husband, who never fails to have witty, direct word play ideas I can bounce ideas off!

We have had the best time the last couple of months, and frankly, most of it in the last couple of weeks. Some of the ideas won't be on display at this week's conference, but will be at the following, Texas Association of Educators and Rehabilitators (AER) conference, slightly more than a week after this one ends.

I'll have lots of new pieces cast from pewter or bronze (Heather, one of my UNT student cohorts) loves bronze casting, so I'm taking her up on it - then, she can give me pointers! And, there'll also be pieces in bronze and silver clay, and hopefully some in the newest for me - steel!

With all of these new pieces and ideas, also comes greater potential for others in the jewelry arena to see how well braille jewelry is received in the blind and sighted communities. Though the numbers of people making braille jewelry and selling it primarily through such hand made arts and crafts sites as Etsy, were a surprise to me, and honestly, knocked the wind out of my lungs a couple of times, most of the people putting braille on anything from rings to hair pins, have fallen under braille's aesthetic spell, and several have come by it through family members who are blind, or were/are braille transcribers - who we adore! My hope is this new generation of braille jewelry makers will continue to ennovate, rather than emulate, and strive to make good braille jewelr; and even - dare I dare them...learn to read and write braille.

I've posted photos of some of the newest pieces, but they won't be available for purchase until about a week after I get back from this week's conference. That gives Mr. Creative (my husband,Eric) time to get the photos and buttons onto the web site!
Last, there's an entirely different air of excitement as Ethan finishes up his last year of middle school, poised for his first year of high school - taking Latin, AP classes, and Band - that truly does seem to have come out of nowhere so suddenly, it takes my breath away. With the rush of images from high school, college, and life on his own flying through my imagination, the words of a wonderful, wise friend and mentor, Patti at The Hatlan Center in CA, come to me now, as I feel myself being pulled toward the Type A mentality I have a propensity for: "What if Ethan does live for a year here; what would that hurt? It doesn't mean you did less than you should have, does it?"

Here's to Spencer, who put it so well I'm determined to get it on a piece of jewelry said, "Kids; they blow up so fast!"

Happy Springing Everyone!


  1. When will these new pieces be on available for purchase on the site?

  2. How do we order the new pendants? I do not see an option to order them on the site yet....

  3. Thanks for the questions about buying the new pieces. I'm getting to launching these new pieces as quickly as I can! I've got orders to make, and I've got to cast more of those new items, as well as quite a few other pieces that had a premier last week at TAER.

    Just acouple of weeks more, I promise!

  4. Thanks for the information about new creations springing forth.