Friday, June 17, 2011

Lucky me and a flea market makeover

i feel lucky almost all the time. really and truly lucky. most people have no idea what it takes to be me. however, if they did, they might kind of lose their grasp of things.
 i say this in a manner of introspection mostly.
here is what i am talking about. i love trash. trash is one person's ability to discard things that are no longer valuable to them. now i am not talking about two week old funky chicken that smells to high heaven and ought to be buried with other organic decaying things. i am talking about stuff that used to have a purpose in someone's home, office or perhaps garage.

this is precisely why i love flea markets. they are the centers for legitimately casting off old stuff that needs a little fresh love or a new perspective. now where i say, that it takes a lot to be me, i mean that i have more than my share of quirks. yet, if they are all piled up and readied in a bonfire-like heap
( this is my husband's wildest dream!!! AND since he has never taken on the task set of cooking and baking... he leaves me alone if he knows where his next meal is coming from)... 
i have a load of cool projects to tackle.
there was a pile of stuff at the side of the road last week. i was driving home from somewhere and left enough time to hop out of the car and pop a lamp from it, into my car trunk. mind you i think i was on my way to deliver my son to his graduation exercises.
 in fact, i enjoy scaring the hell out of the next generation with these odd forays,
 it keeps them sober and alert to my whims.
this lamp is going to be a posting in the not too distant future... i can see in my mind's eye how it will be transformed into a slightly more usable piece that i think will charm the household naysayers.
 they just have to wait a smidge.

so returning to the topic of being me.
 i have tried so many different ways to make money.
 some would say that they are career paths. i say, they are hobbies made altogether serious.
i went to college with the hopes that i could escape the chaos that was my childhood home. there was puhlenty of crazy stuff to deal with on any given day. so much so, that i spent long hours sitting on a therapist's sofa. later i discovered that friends would hold my hands and give perspective as needed.
 the friends were significantly more fun and less costly.
what i truly learned was that i needed to try doing things i was already moderately successful with.
so after taking the wrong turn to study sciences in college, my last year was spent printmaking and casting bronze pieces; welding and lettering papers; on occasion when a kitchen was available, i would bake and cook things. not really what i had expected of a bachelor of arts degree. it was the opening of the door into my future... just a crack.
then i felt that i needed to use my science and math background in a marriage of interests, to develop some professional direction. so i tried architecture. i passed by the idea of going to cooking school at the C.I.A.(the Culinary Institute of America), a renowned culinary school. it was not as if i applied and was admitted, however i was turned off that in the brochure they felt a need to express that good personal hygiene was expected of its students. i did not find that this was perhaps my best social group to blend with at the time, if they needed to be told this in a brochure.
i also passed over a career in medical illustration and photography. needless to say, the yuck factor was high and i had not the best skill drawing things yet.
in retrospect, i was deleting things right and left, that were intrinsically in my nature.

one of the main aspects of this unfocused life was that i had NO IDEA that i was already repurposing my college acumen and degree to find a better, more honed professional path. i was incapable of just walking away from the liberal arts forum and starting afresh. repurposing was number one on the list.
then this issue of drawing. my sense was that i was unable to do it. ultimately many years later, realizing that i just needed a different skill-set to succeed as an artist of literal imagery. i could draw wonderfully, just not kidneys and brains. my drawings were doodly. they came from a vision in my mind, through my hands and onto paper. never did they look on paper as they did in my mind's eye. as i grew to appreciate their consistency in appearance, i realized that i had a style of my own. who would have seen that coming?

many years elapsed ... i went to architecture school... which was a drag. such a drag. however, i felt i needed to try to finish something and if i could, then other opportunities arose. they did and it was still kind of a drag. i never saw that coming. what i did see was an ability to take a pile of stuff and make something else with it. if it was a booklet that described a building on a specific plot of land, well it was kind of creative. i loved making some of my sheets of technical drawings, but i was neither gifted with speed in drawing them nor an ease in building detailing. i guess most of the problems with this were due to not having any carpentry skills or house building experiences.
only boys had been permitted to take wood shop when i was in middle school. 
my time was relegated to home economics because of  age, gender and school policy. 
i still can make a kick ass pot of stew with dark beer undertones 
and
sew up an apron in a jiff .
i remain challenged by the crafting of popcorn ball snowmen. 
you take what you get. 


i was starting a family by the very end of my taking architectural exams. i was making brownies to satisfy an unendurable sweet tooth and ironically to  stay awake. and alive. this led to a 12 year stint of professional baking. i had 3 kids under my belt by then and a lot of personal chemical  changes. can you say turn on the oven on a hundred degree day with a hot flash in tow?

my earlier crafty childhood life of making what i wanted and when i wanted to, led to my now   13 year investment into jewelry fabrications. i never have been all that interested in jewelry before except when i was a bike riding high schooler with killer macrame skills, a bunch of shells and  a willing audience of Long Island lifeguards. they ate up my macrame confections daily. i had fresh orders for their beachy attire every day. it was a summer job that i adored. and somehow as a mother of 3 kids and a husband,
 i was heading  back into it.

now in the early part of this page, i state how hard i think it might be for someone to be me. or at least something like me. here is where acceptance is a deep and profound issue that you have to manage. i felt as if i was coming out... not as a gay woman, which i am not. more that i was accepting the fact that i can't leave anything alone. i must repurpose things every day. a grouping of raw materials, such as things selected from the trash are fodder for my creative schemes.   they have been harvested for my visions and because i can see an extended use for their roadside carcasses. i must also wrap my head around the fact that folks are jealous of this quirky nature of mine. i would love you all to know, i do NOT practice medicine, law or even architecture (which i am licensed to do). i have struggled to get here and am now finally comfortable enough in my own skin, to call myself an "artist". it has been such a huge and rocky roaded trip, that i currently even have skinned knees to prove the truth in this statement.
(scroll all the way to the bottom of post for confirmation...)
* * * * *

what i also have is a laboratory that is my home and the best job i could EVER have imagined. it has allowed me to be as flexible as i could while i tried to raise a very smarty-pants family too. i just love this crazy life almost all the time. if i hit some bump, i keep reminding myself that it is a path that i not only could not diverge from, but am totally happy trying to make work.

i should say, i started this post with the idea of sharing some things that i have repurposed recently from disparate elements in my hoard of unlikely components.

when i go to shows to try to sell my jewelry, i need ways to make it stand out and look pretty. 
in my eye, i have done a few things that exemplify these goals. 
along with a nice appearance, they must be inexpensive to make, enduringly crafted, blend together as well as possible and be completely my own. if someone else makes them, after me, i get peeved. this is the downside of having a creative nature. there will always be someone who needs to take a shortcut on my tail, but it just makes me try to make something fresh and new. 

anyways, i made these displays with the carpentry assists from my husband.
i found some table legs at the flea market. they were selected from a bin that had all sorts of shapes and were mostly a dark brown. i am not really a fan of brown, so i planned to paint them white. chris and i conferred in the basement shop... and an idea i had was rotated onto its ears and legs to be these display stands.
the legs were turned upside down, drilled through the tops to add finials from some window hardware i had in "storage". they were drilled through their bottoms and hardware was added so that the bases used could be made from old wooden boxes (also in my studio). my hubby added some strong weighty under carriage wood to secure the verticality of the legs. and finally there were holes drilled sideways through the top to accept brass rods i had removed from my vintage library card catalog.

in the beginning: random table legs were selected for their gam value

they were composed with their little toppers and wooden tray bases 
with structural underpinnings.

if i mixed how they were placed, i could get a nice forest 
of bracelets, dangly earrings or necklaces.



charmed, i am sure...

still scruffy and in mixed brownish colors... but workable as fixtures...


as much as liked these, i felt that they really did need to be painted. and while i was at it, i also wall papered the box bases. 
the most important part of this exercise was to make some things that i could take apart and store flat... also i needed to be able to travel with them more compactly. 
so .... 
these grew into the whiter shade below



ready for my close-up Mr. DeMille... 



here is one wearing  "morning garden", the necklace.



 and also being visited by a 
"farmstand glory"



so that is some of the story from this past week. i hope that you enjoyed my little biographical detour. 
it was fun to make these stands, as they are not going to be replicated easily or often. 
their fabrication is one of many ideas that i chase around 
until i get a nice result for whatever i may be in need of. 
one can never have enough display elements to make you stand out,
mostly because every crafter enjoys a stint as a jewelry maker. 
shows are tough and any edge you can garner is a help. 

heaven knows, i need the help more often than not and am trying to be open to it.

thank you for visiting ... this very long posting. 
hopefully you enjoyed it in some manner. 

xoxo. 
W. 





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