There’s a term that’s often used here in Portland: Sunbreak. It’s not a complicated idea, and I bet you can guess what it means… take a break from the grey gloom of winter and bask in the sun. It’s really the only way to really survive a NW winter (and keep your sanity).
And it’s in that spirit that Russ and I are headed south for a few weeks. Just us and our bikes and camping gear. We’ll ramble around the rolling hills of Central California wine country, visit friends and family in LA, and enjoy the quiet of the desert (Anza-Borrego, Salton Sea, Joshua Tree). I am thrilled!
I’ve also decided to not bring any tools with me. For three years, I traveled with a portable studio. But, for this trip, I’m leaving my studio behind. I’ll be focused on getting some much-needed rest and also connecting more of the bicycle tourism dots. What this means is: orders for custom headbadges are temporarily on hold, until mid-February. I’ll still be fully connected, so feel free to email any design ideas or questions, and I’ll be happy to work up sketches while we’re traveling. I just won’t get my hands on any metal for a few weeks.
In the meantime, you can always keep up with our cycling whereabouts.
In my little corner of Portland, Oregon, where we have already put up a tree covered in tinsel, I am astounded that the holiday season is upon us! How this year flew by so quickly is beyond me… But I am swinging into full-blown holiday maker mode, and I want to be sure that you all are aware of some very important order deadlines.
I ship via USPS, so I am at the mercy of their shipping deadlines, which means that I must receive your headbadge orders by the following dates in order to guarantee delivery by Christmas:
November 30: International orders with everyday free shipping.
December 6: International orders with express shipping, additional fees will apply.
December 14: All US-bound orders.
The above deadlines are designed to give us a day to finalize your design and get me into the studio to make your badge. As always, a custom headbadge requires some back-and-forth via email, so please contact me in advance of the above dates if your design is particularly complex or requires additional sketches and brainstorming to finalize. Once your badge is completed, I will confirm the date that I ship and give you an estimated delivery date.
Thank You and Happy Holidays!
I have recently come to terms with something terribly obvious but hard to admit… My interest in making jewelry has been slowly waning, to the point where it just isn’t “me” anymore.
I discovered metalworking in 2004, in a happy accident. I started chatting with a woman at a gallery opening after she complimented my wire-wrapped necklace. I told her I had made it, and that I wanted to get into “real” metalworking. Her response… Did I know there was a metals class at the community college? I had missed the first class and there was a waiting list, but I went anyway. I got in, paid my fees, learned a lot, went back for more. And then I took the information and ran with it.
It was jewelry-making that got me into metalworking. So it feels rather strange and disappointing to be losing my interest in it. I still love jewelry (especially uniquely hand-crafted jewelry), but I find that I’m now much more interested in seeing what others are making than in making any of my own.
Instead, I’d much prefer to spend my studio time making headbadges. It feels more “real” and less pretentious, maybe because I get to swing big hammers and make a lot of noise. It allows me to interact with customers in an incredibly meaningful way. And it pushes me in way that truly inspires me, as I endeavor to do justice to someone else’s story.
So, I’ve decided to finally accept that my metalworking future is rather different from my metalworking past, and I’m migrating away from making jewelry. Which means that you should grab up the jewelry you’re interested in, because headbadges are now my creative priority.
My favorite part about making headbadges is seeing all of the unique and creative design ideas that people dream up. Never are two custom badges the same! Each one is representative, in some way, of the person who commissioned it or the bicycle that it will be adhered to. And I love that, each time I make a headbadge, I get to work on a completely new design.
Of course, creating your own unique design can actually be a lot harder than it might sound. A year ago, I sat down to design a headbadge for myself… and it took me almost a week to decide on an idea and sketch it out! But taking that time was one of the best decisions, because I love how this badge captures something about me, and the way that it fits so perfectly with the bike that it’s on.
Fast forward to now, and I’ve realized that this design process might be more than you all want to undertake. Maybe you’re super busy, or maybe drawing just freaks you out. I get that, and I want to help you design your perfect headbadge. Just because you can’t sketch it out yourself, doesn’t mean you should be barred from having the custom headbadge you want!
Introducing Headbadge Design 101… This is a new resource that I’ve put together to help you brainstorm about your headbadge design. There are questions to think about to narrow down images and style. And there are tips for creating a strong design that will work with your bike.
Like always, I’m happy to work with you to fine-tune your design ideas. But if you’re feeling like you want a little more direction before we start working together, check out Headbadge Design 101.
When I first conceived of my time off from making jewelry, I figured that I would slowly work on a whole huge new body of work and then have a big announcement and reveal… to say, Ta Da!, I’m back in business.
As I’ve started finishing new work, however, I’ve decided to re-conceive my big re-opening. The point of my much-needed break wasn’t to dive back in and wear myself out again, trying to reach Perfection in a new body of work. The point was to re-align my personal mission with the kind of jewelry I make; to find a happy place of being a working artist, so that I can do this everyday; to recognize that I’m in this for the long haul, and making jewelry isn’t just one finite project that I can wrap up and walk away. So, I’ve decided to simply start releasing new pieces a little bit at a time.
Today, I am re-opening my Etsy shop! Pretty much everything that was in my shop prior to January 1 has been removed, and I’ve been slowly re-working a lot of those pieces.
What’s in the store today is all brand new jewelry, necklaces and earrings, that are simple and fun and exude a sense of movement… that make me think of cartwheeling through a grassy field… that can be worn everyday or dressed up for a night on the town… that remind me that jewelry doesn’t have to be stuffy and serious… that flash you a smile and a wink before grabbing your hand and leading you off on an adventure.
Like I’ve said previously, this style is a bit of a shift for me, and I’m kind of excited about it. I think I gave myself permission to right-size the everyday work that I make, so that I have lots of creative energy to conceive of artier pieces as well. So, take a look and let me know what you think (and keep your eyes here and on my shop, because I’ve got lots of ideas up my sleeve).
For the past three years, I have carried a portable studio on our travels. A small collection of hammers, files, my trusty saw, pliers, etc., this portable studio allowed me to create on the road. The further we traveled, the further I whittled down what I carried, until I had just the bare essentials. The creative challenge was fantastic, and I loved being able to set up at a campground picnic table.
Now, I’m veering in totally the opposite direction. Taking a break from traveling and settling into Portland has meant that I can, once again, set up a non-portable studio. After consulting the magic Google, I discovered a workspace in the city that rents communal space to metalsmiths and woodworkers. It’s an old industrial building that creaks in the wind, and I share a large upstairs section with several other jewelers, and I love it. Besides the simple delight of being able to spread out and make a mess, the space is full of communal tools (which means no more laboriously drilling holes with a pin vise!). I feel wildly fortunate to have found this space and I’m thrilled to be able to work whenever I want… and I seriously believe that it’s making me much more productive!
Since January, I’ve given myself a much-needed break from all things jewelry-related. I knew that I wanted to see big changes from my work, so I knew that I needed to remove all the pressure I was heaping upon myself and just let the ideas start to gel on their own. I’ve spent the past few months looking at hundreds of amazing designs and filling up my sketchbook with ideas, all so that I would have something to work from when the time came.
Now, after nearly three years of continual travel, I am settling down a bit in Portland. I found an incredible work space that I am thrilled to use. And I’m finally putting myself back to work.
Yet, as excited as I am to work in a proper studio again and produce beautiful new jewelry, I find myself a bit anxious too. Why? Because these new pieces that I’m creating are quite different from what I’ve produced in the past. Change is always a good thing, but the gremlin that hangs out in the shadows of an artist’s brain has a way of making you think that this kind of change is just plain horrible. And my gremlin has been yelling, rather loudly, that I’ve got a lot of nerve to make jewelry that looks like this.
The trouble with all of this gremlin yelling is that I really want to change my jewelry style, I really want to make these new pieces in this simpler way, I really want to play with these ideas that have been bubbling up recently (and follow through with them and see what happens). And since it’s my business and my creative pursuit, it seems logical that I should follow what’s fun and exciting for me, right? Even if it’s mildly terrifying…?
Well, logical or terrifying or not, that’s the direction I’m following. New work, a bit of a new style… and a goal to release a new line on May 1. In the meantime, these photos provide a bit of a sneak peek.
I’ve made a fairly drastic decision. It’s scary and intimidating and puts a lot of pressure on my shoulders – which means it’s the right decision. On January 1, I will blank-slate my entire Etsy shop.
The little creative voice that lives inside of me has been nagging at me for some time to step up and create the jewelry that I really want to make – pieces that are bold in a simple way, that embody the power of solving a creative challenge, that remind us to step into the spotlight a bit more. These designs have long been floating through my head, but have never seen the light of day because I keep letting myself get stuck by the process of stepping out of the comfort zone of my current work.
So, on January 1, I’m confronting my comfort zone and trying something drastic. I will place my Etsy shop on vacation. I will remove the current listings. I will likely decommission the pieces that are currently for sale. And I will start creating new work.
My hope is that, by blank-slating and re-launching my shop, I’ll create a space to make new work outside of the shadow of everything that I’ve made previously. My hope is also that, by bluntly stating this all here, I’ll have to hold my feet to the fire and follow through on my goals.
My intention is to re-launch my shop around May 1. That sounds like a long time, but I need these few months to erase, and then re-create, the current structure of my shop and my work. It’s terrifying and exciting and I can’t wait to dig in and get to work.
What this means for you is that you have two weeks to grab up anything that you might have your eye on. Consider it a final clearance fire sale, because these pieces will likely not ever come back (even the newer ones). Need a little extra push? As a blog reader, take an extra 15% off any purchase with this code: BLANKSLATE. And if you want to be one of the first people to hear about my new work and my re-launch, enter your email below.
It’s official… I’m headed to New Zealand in a few weeks! This has been in the works for months and I’m thrilled to finally have the details all be coming together. I have long wanted to travel in New Zealand, and doing it on bicycle just sounds unbelievably amazing.
As I get ready to head out, there are a few very big details that you all need to be know…
1. I will be carrying tools with me to continue making custom headbadges on the road. Please continue to contact me the way you normally would. I will be in an entirely different part of the world, but the magic of the Internet will allow me to keep in contact and respond as I normally would.
2. Shipping times and rates will change drastically! If you’re in the US, I will no longer be able to offer free/cheap shipping. I’ve done some preliminary research and it looks like shipping from New Zealand to the US will be approximately $10 and take 3-10 days. For those of you in other parts of the world, I can provide you with an accurate estimate before placing your order.
3. If you’re purchasing a custom headbadge as a holiday gift, you will need to plan ahead and place your order early! Bonus points if you’re able to get your order in early enough that I can make and ship it before flying out (because you’ll still get the cheap/fast US shipping).
As soon as I have a date of departure, I will update you all.
Thanks in advance! I’m so excited and can’t wait to see this gorgeous country for myself!
Whew! I’ve been on a streak of hammering, filing, forming, riveting… and new jewelry has been appearing out of my (traveling) studio. I’m excited to be updating and re-stocking my Etsy shop for the first time in a long time, and I’m quite pleased with the way that these new pieces have turned out.
Some of them are quite simple, some are a little more involved. They are all inspired by our travels – the way the wind whips across a field, the winding roads, the simple pleasure of pedaling down an open road.
Many pieces are available now. And more will be appearing daily in my Etsy shop. Take a look!