Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Light

It's somewhere at the end of the tunnel, just not quite visible yet.

I am overwhelmed - in a good way - by my school application. I want to study jewelry design and metalsmithing, and that requires a good old-fashioned entrance essay as well as a 20 image portfolio. The essay I can knock out with no problem; it's the portfolio that is making me a bit anxious.

I've been sketching quite a bit the last few days, including a self-portrait that went down like a tasty slice of humble pie, and still have a couple more images to produce. I also bought a table-top studio for photographing my jewelry. I know you can make them at home quite cheaply, but for me this is one of the best investments I've made in recent memory. I need to tinker with the camera settings a little more, and tomorrow I'm urgently going to buy a tripod in the morning, but even if I have no more time and no tripod, the photos I'm taking at present are, in my opinion, good enough for my portfolio.

In the midst of getting my school application ready, I worked my tail off last week to finish my final consulting assignment (for the time being) in Mozambique. It was this giant business plan about community maize mills in the 'grain belt' in the norther part of the country. It was interesting about 4 months ago, but I am so burned out it was more than a bit torturous to finish the job. Still, I put in the effort (including a marathon all-nighter on Sunday) and am really happy to be done. The pending document was taking up mental space that, quite frankly, I don't have to spare at this point. I both need and want to concentrate on other things now that we are in Casa Cali.

So, other than school and jewelry, what are some of the things occupying my mental space?

- My translating business (this is my counterpoint to making jewelry - it's good work and pays pretty well, plus it keeps my language skills sharp). I registered with the Northern California Translator's Association, am signed up for a workshop on using Trados translating software next month, and am getting ready to sit for the national certification exam for translating into Portuguese.

- Etsy. I have long-term plans for a website of my own, but until then I am sticking with Etsy for my jewelry sales. I am going to update with new pieces in the next 2 weeks. Check out for some unique holiday gift ideas featuring 300-year-old trade beads from Mozambique Island.

- Decorating. I have my studio/office somewhat organized, but there is still a lot I want to do in order to make it the beautiful and inspiring space I envision. I want to paint the walls (of course!) and am leaning toward a light, muted pumpkin spice color. The room is full of fabulous antique furniture I inherited from my dad's side of the family, and I plan on re-upholstering the loveseat and wing chair in a lilac brocade (both have been torn to pieces by multiple generations of my family's cats - suffice to say they're in need of some restoration and love). On the walls thus far I've put some Mexican bark paintings in the arte naif style I appreciate so much, and a fabric wall-hanging from Cuba that features a woman reclining with a fan and peacocks and sunflowers in the background. It is one of my absolute favorite pieces of art (I bought it in Havana several years ago and have since hauled it to Austin, Brazil, Mozambique and now Cali) and I'm happy to have it in a place where I spend so much time.

- Earthquakes. I got this publication at Home Depot called "Putting down roots in earthquake country". It scared the shit out of me, but I suppose that's its purpose. I'm slowly going through the checklists they provide: personal emergency kits, shoes and flashlights under the bed, household emergency kit, etc. We need to have Casa Cali retrofitted at some point, but for now I'm preparing what is within my reach.

- New Mexico. Rico and I are going for a visit next week. I can't wait!

Ok...time for me to get off the computer. I have a long day of photography and sketching ahead of me tomorrow, so I need my rest (and my requisite episode of Law and Order before bed).


Meg said...

My hubby designs gorgeous ecommerce sites. Check out my website -

Marcia said...

I can't WAIT to see pics of the house and of your studio....

glad you finished that project and can cross it off your to-do list.

am sure your portfolio will be great. Do you honestly think they'll turn you down? I don't! After all, whose necklace gets admired every time I wear it??? LOL

Big hugs to you and Rico!

Siberia said...

Good luck! I am sure that you will be successful