Thursday, September 16, 2010

In Absentia

"In absentia" is a lovely Latin phrase. It literally means, "in the absence". This phrase conveys the thought of not being present, perhaps when one should be. Macabre as it sounds, I think it appropriate to use a dead language to define the idea of not being physically present. I also think the term is apropos to explain not being virtually present. I don't like to make excuses because they sound lame at best. So I will simply get down to business and write this post!

This year has been beyond busy for me due to circumstances beyond control. Finally, the dust is settling, things are sorting out, breaths can be taken. At least until the next time. In the interim, I have been as creatively productive as possible. Currently, I am taking a metalsmithing class. Just getting started, actually. I must say that I have a whole new respect for metalsmiths. Sawing metal is my biggest challenge so far. I had no idea that jewelry sawblades are so very thin! My sawing technique has a L-O-N-G way to go. The first night of my class, I broke eight blades. Eight of them. Meanwhile, the students on either side of me were doing an incredible job of sawing. One cut out a cute little flower shape. The other cut out a sweet little bird. And me? A misshapen oval and eight broken blades. I should note, however, that I am typically a slow learner when it comes to crafty things. But I do sincerely hope that I can reach a point where my technique does improve. Practice, practice, practice!

I remember when I took a glass bead class for the first time. The torch was absolutely terrifying to me. The hot glass wasn't my favorite feature, either. I was living on the edge! But I eventually got a feel for it. Interestingly, the torch in metalsmithing holds fresh terror for me. I didn't expect that. I am so accustomed to using a torch when working with glass. But it's all different with metal. One of the torches in the metal shop is nicknamed "Big Bertha". It is used to anneal large pieces of sheet metal. "Big Bertha" is intimidating. She breathes fire. She is potentially explosive. My synapses are firing away as I learn to wrap my mind around it. It is a comfort to me that the metal shop is full of ladies using hammers, saws and torches. Not a man in sight. The only men in the building are in a pottery class next door. Huh.

I am also an official glass tester for Creation is Messy! This is the first time that I have had the opportunity to participate in the testing process. I received my package of glass ( a boxful of rainbow! ), sorted it out and got started playing. I have to say that I am a huge fan of Creation is Messy glass, a.k.a. CiM glass. They have colors in their glass line that are completely unique, with more streaming out constantly. They are particularly interested in pleasing their many customers, a wise business practice. I will be reporting some of my CiM glass observations in future posts.

Pictured in this post is just one of the sample beads I have been working on throughout the testing process. Beadmaking has been a bit frustrating lately. My bead release (a clay slip used to make bead removal easier after firing) has been failing me non-stop lately! I keep a bowl of water near my torch to "kill" beads that are not working out. The bowl is full of shattered glass right now, with the death toll ever mounting. Perhaps the high humidity we have been having locally is a contributing factor. I don't know. I will just keep trying!

"Never give up. Never surrender!"- from the movie, "Galaxy Quest"

"Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul."- Douglas MacArthur

"Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working."-- Unknown

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