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Monday, October 7, 2013

Etsy Metal Blog Carnival: What's Your Favorite Studio Activity?

As part of the Etsy Metal street team, I like to participate in as many group activities as I can.  This month, some of us get to answer the question: “What are our favorite things to do in the studio?"

It turns out my favorite things to do in the studio involve being forced into a meditative state.  When I’m required to focus on one thing with undivided attention, my brain seems to relax (“Yay, she’s not sending us in 100 different directions at the same time… we get to sit still for a moment and enjoy life!”).

I first discovered this phenomenon in 2006 when I started lampworking.  I was always so relaxed after a good torching session.  Too often, while I’m working on one thing I’m thinking ahead (sometimes behind).  “Don’t forget to add the earrings when you send the necklace!”  “You’d better start thinking of a reply to that email about the custom order.”  “Which shows did you apply to already?”  And so on.

But then I get to do things like torching, where I watch glass melt around a steel mandrel as I shape and decorate it.  I can't look away for a second as my hands are inches away from a 1700-degree blow torch.
I don't torch anymore, but now I do enameling with the same focus.  Placing miniscule particles of glass onto metal in just the right spot and with just the right amount and then place into a 1500 degree kiln where I have to (get to, actually) watch the transition as the glass becomes grainy, then looks like an orange peel (or cellulite) and then finally smooths down into the glossy finish that is perfection.   My enamel work is incredibly basic compared with enamelists, but to me it is a joy of saturated colors and the process of creating it couldn’t be more fun.

The same thing happens when I fuse or solder.   I think, as someone who generally has too many scattered thoughts bouncing around the noggin, it’s a nice reprieve when I just focus all my attention on one task.

I also like sanding and polishing (and recently built a contraption to keep the dust out of my studio).  I think it’s the idea of taking metal that looks like this.

And polishing it until I can’t even take a good photograph because the metal is so reflective.

Anyway, that’s a little insight into my workings.  The stuff that I enjoy the most is the stuff that requires my undivided attention.

Here are links to the other Etsy Metal team members participating in this blog carnival.  Check them out and find out what other artists’ favorite studio time is:


  1. What an amazing artist you are ! So many techniques , and what a lovely post ! I really enjoyed reading the description , along with all the beautiful eyecandy you have created. Lovely !

  2. I love that feeling where you are so engrossed and focused on what you are doing. I think this feeling made me realize that I wanted to make jewelry for a living. It is one of the few things I can get lost in without staring at the clock all day wishing it were time to go home. Love your pieces!