Being a Traveling Jewelry Maker
After four days, I am coming out of the fog of a very nasty cold. I’ve been hesitant to use the F word (Flu), but now that I’m on the other side, I can admit that it sure felt like the flu. Serious ick. The silver lining of being sick while traveling, as Russ said, is that we’ve had some extremely generous hosts here in Sacramento who have opened their homes and let us just sit and wait it all out. Thank you all!! It just proves to me that this world is full of amazing and graceful people, if you are simply open to meeting them.
As I’ve been making my way through this cold and Russ’ hand has been healing, I have taken the opportunity of lots of down time to work on jewelry. As we’ve mentioned before, finding the balance of touring time and working time has been tough. When there are so many amazing places to explore and so many fascinating people to connect with, it’s hard to set aside the time to work (even though it’s an extremely enjoyable work).
So, in a weird way, Russ’ burn and this nasty cold that hit us both allowed us to stop moving and be slightly anti-social enough to catch ourselves up and do some work. For me, this has meant opening up the studio pannier and finishing up a massive pile of half-done jewelry. Mutliple pairs of earrings (twelve of which are now up in my etsy shop), with more on the way. A few more pendants are just waiting for me to take decent photos. And I’ve also fit in a head badge.
Like with so much else in this journey, I have had to change my expectations with my jewelry making. I went into this trip thinking that it would provide me the opportunity to work on more complex pieces, i.e. one piece that might take me a long time, but which I could send off to a gallery with a high price tag, and slowly make the transition to that style of making. Instead, as time has been hard to find, and as I’ve been thinking extensively about finding a way to continue funding this endeavor, I found myself drifting over to the side of pieces that are smaller, not as time-consuming and more affordable. (These are the things you’re forced to think about as a self-employed artist.)
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the route I’ve taken, and don’t think I’m unhappy about it. I’ve simply had to re-think what I’m able to do while traveling. Plus, as a jewelry maker, let’s be honest… Christmas is my biggest opportunity for a paycheck… and it’s just around the corner… so I have to get stuff made and in front of my audience, quick.
We get a lot of questions about how it’s working out for us to work as we go… and this is where I am at the moment. I have been blessed to work in some amazing locations… a picnic table in the redwoods, the backyards and coffee tables of various hosts, a beautifully set up garage studio of a reader and fellow jewelry maker. And while I’ve learned that it’s really difficult to continue making jewelry in the same manner as I used to, I’ve also discovered that I can actually create in some pretty un-equipped locations. Like with so much else on this journey, figuring out how to make jewelry as we travel has been a continual learning process… and I will, no doubt, continue to change and evolve my style and work habits as we continue down the road.
For now, I am enjoying this time in Sacramento to work, work, work, print stuff out at Kinko’s, and ship out new stock to some sellers I’m working with. I invite you to check out what I’ve finished up so far (and to keep checking back as I keep finishing up the half-done projects in my bag).