Saturday, January 29, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Our first assignment in my Sculpture I class is to make 50 sculptures. We can use any materials, they can be any size, and we can create intuitively or have a specific concept. We're also encouraged to be eco-friendly in our materials choice and our processes. We've been challenged not to buy anything for the project, rather use only found, borrowed, or already-owned objects in our work.
I decided to make 50 "sculptures" using my childhood postcard collection. I've collected postcards since about the 4th grade. Many of them I bought as souvenirs on various trips around the US and abroad; others were sent to me by friends and family over the years. Until now, my postcards have sat in a box in the closet, tucked safely away but essentially out of sight and subsequently out of mind.
I'm cutting up each postcard into a floral shape, pasting together the petals, then will string them together on fishing line. At the end of each strand I will create a small wire sculpture to act as a weight. The strands of postcard flowers will hang from a circular wire structure, sort of like a veil. From the outside the viewer will see all of the colors; from the inside of the mobile, they will see the white side of the postcards, some of which have writing and stamps, and a small center of color taken from the printed side of the card. I imagine this will be almost a floor-to-ceiling work once it's finished next week.
I've really enjoyed the process of making the postcard flower mobile. I like the idea of reducing clutter in my home, and it's been refreshing to "get over" the sentimental ties that lead us to cling to things from our past. Part of me didn't want to cut up the postcards, as they were these precious mementos from people and places I may never see again. However, the memories didn't fade with the cuts, and now I will have a beautiful object to display that will actually remind me more of what I want to hold on to than a hidden box of postcards ever could.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
For the last several years, I've had the luxury of always having Fridays off. When I was consulting in Mozambique, not having to be in a client's office or otherwise on-call was one of my main criteria. Having Fridays to myself gave me a chance to catch up on jewelry making, errands, and life in general.
The 3-day weekend trend continued all last year, as most of the classes at CCA meet either Mon-Wed or Tue-Thurs. However, this semester I am taking a class on Fridays called Color on Metal that meets for 6 hours at a time. I am quite excited about the class, which involves enameling and patination, but am having to seriously adjust to a 2-day weekend. More than anything I'm aware that I must make those precious two days off count. I want to be sure I relax and unwind as much as possible, while having to put in studio hours and get homework done.
This weekend was a good one. Granted school hasn't hit a frenetic pace yet (although I have no doubt it will in about a week), so I was able to get in some good relaxation as well as be productive. I went to the studio, worked on several homework assignments, went to a friend's gallery opening with my mom and Rico, went to a party at our local pub, cooked a lot (waffles from scratch, turkey meatloaf, tortellini, salad, fried eggs), and went for a great hour-long jog with Rico this afternoon. The weather has been lovely, so there's definitely been some lounging in the sun on the deck with a glass of wine as well.
I feel better about the whirlwind that my life's about to become due to school. More prepared, more able to cope. I made some progress on organizing my office/studio, which definitely helped, and I've tried to put things in perspective in terms of the expectations I place on myself. Hopefully next week is a good one, and I'm able to hold on to the feeling of being able to swim and not sink.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
I started school again on Tuedsay, kicking of my second full year here at CCA. I'm excited about my classes (jewelry 2B, enameling, sculpture 1, history of jewelry and metal arts) but am already feeling very overwhelmed.
Last semester was so intense, so much work, so crazy that I don't think I can handle a repeat this semester without a breakdown of some sort. I can control some aspects of my workload (i.e. how complex the projects are that I choose), but for the most part the assignments are set and the pace can't be altered. I don't really know how to explain what it feels like to be in art school as a second-degree student. The best approximation is that it's as if I were a contestant on Project Runway while having to deal with running my own business, not to mention "real life" and all of its obligations at the same time. I feel like I'm on a roller coaster with no brakes, and all I can do is hold on, work as diligently as possible, and take things one day at a time in hopes that I don't fall off.
Part of what has me feeling so unsettled is that my home office/studio/dressing area is really cluttered. I'm on a constant battle to get organized, but despite all my efforts I've not really mastered the beast quite yet. It's a challenging room to tackle because it serves many functions: a closet and dressing area for me (Rico's stuff is upstairs in the small closet in our bedroom), storage area for all of my photos (back when I actually organized them into albums) and select childhood mementos, an office where I do schoolwork and take care of the administrative side of my business, a creative space for school projects and my own jewelry work, a photography studio, and my little corner of the house.
I have purged a lot of what I own, trying to keep only those things that I need and use on a consistent basis. Still, it's a lot of stuff. Art supplies for school, beads, wire, jeweler's tools, office supplies, books, shipping supplies, jewelry displays, photo equipment and lighting...not to mention my own clothes and jewelry and shoes. I desperately need a better framework for organizing everything. I need some more shelves and a bookcase. I need a way to organize my tools so they're accessible but tidy. Ufff. I bought a jeweler's bench over break which hopefully will help isolate some of the jewelry stuff and give me a dedicated work area for metals projects, but it will also make my room more crowded.
I can't express how much I want a clean, organized "home base" from which to run my business and plow through my school work. Just knowing that my space is cluttered makes the craziness of the school semester that much harder to manage. Bit by bit I'm trying to find solutions, and Rico has been quite helpful. He's going to build some shelves for me and put in new flooring so I can do more studio-type work at home without worrying about the carpet getting impregnated with metal shavings or, once I get a soldering station set up, catching on fire!
I know that fundamentally everything will be ok. I'll get through the semester, I'll enjoy my projects, I'll learn new skills, I'll eventually get my office/studio area organized. I just wish I had a magic wand to wave so that it would all fall into place tomorrow.
Friday, January 07, 2011
In order to open the doors for new jewelry designs in 2011, I am holding a super sale with select Alexandra Amaro designs marked up to 50% off. Visit www.alexandraamaro.com to see the selection of beautiful pieces that need new homes.
Anasazi Africa Necklace - antique trade beads salvaged from shipwrecks off the coast of Mozambique, turquoise, hand-carved sandalwood beads, sterling silver
Pimenta Earrings - handmade recycled glass Krobo beads from Ghana, Indian Rubies, Swarovski crystals, 14k gold-filled wire and ear hooks
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
This year Rico and I decided to combine traditions and do a Rio-influenced Reveillon on the beach here at Casa Cali, joined by my mom and several neighbors. We wore white, or as close to white as possible given the constraints of a winter wardrobe, threw roses and agapanthus lilies into the ocean with shouted wishes for 2011, lit incense, and had a champagne toast at sunset. What a fantastic way to ring in the new year.
My wish? (Well one of them, at least.)
That we've started a tradition.
My wish? (Well one of them, at least.)
That we've started a tradition.
Happy 2011, everyone. May it be the best year yet.