Tuesday, April 2, 2013

carpet capers


I'm trying really hard to challenge myself to 'go simple'. One of the weirdest things about what I do is I hardly ever wear what I make. Practically every time someone asks me what I do and I say 'I'm a jewelry maker' and then no, I'm not actually wearing anything I made today. Because I almost never do!
Lucy - vintage button earrings - Victorian assemblage - salvage primitive eco friendly jewelry
  I do have jewelry that I've made that I wear, but thing is- it's not the sort of thing you find in my shop. It's simple, small, pretty rustic with not much going on. Like the stuff here.
Venus - vintage button earrings - Victorian assemblage - salvage primitive eco friendly jewelry
So I've done these. Many's the time I've been looking through Etsy's jewelry categories and seen earrings that are literally just a bead and a hook. Or a necklace that's a bead and a chain. And I think 'that's cheating!' Because there's no skill involved- I'm not trying to offend anyone there, I think you'd have to have a bit missing to suggest there's a lot of hard thinking involved in that sort of design. You don't have to think of a design at all, you just shop around for some interesting beads (if you're one of the better ones who makes an effort) and job's done. The ones who do it properly utilize pure metals, quality findings, interesting gemstones. And despite that my muse looks at it and scoffs, it's perfectly good jewelry. Why do I have this atttitude that all jewelry should involve hard thinking, more than 10 minutes of work and complex design? Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, says Leonardo DaVinci. (Apparently he was some kind of expert.)

So I took Leo's advice but I ramped it up a bit to keep the muse happy and put as much effort in as I could, making each and every bead and charm a unique, interesting and characterful element. Above is the most simple I could manage- 1970s banded orange agate (from one of those carved stone Inca necklaces) and hammered mauve tone wire. I haven't listed them yet because frankly, they make me uneasy. It is just a bead on a hook.

But I'd happily wear them, so what's my problem? It's like I think everything worth doing is complicated, unique and lengthy. And that's no way to run a railroad.

On a completely different note, the boards I shot those earrings on are actually what lay sleeping underneath the god-awful carpet in my new house.

Here's a shot  of the master bedroom which shows the carpet that was throughout- lounge, hall, master and second bedroom. Nice. Please do click the picture so you can enjoy it on a large scale. The house was built in 52 (or 55, depending on who tells the story) and was given 'updates' in the 1970s, so there's also a rather smashing kitchen and bathroom treatment which I'm okay with because it's clean and neutral. This carpet was neither of those.

Initially I planned to just lay new carpet, but the cost of that was a little shocking (and I didn't see the point in blowing the budget only to get the cheapest stuff we could find). When I saw the floorboards, it occurred to me we'd be mad to cover them up. Oregon timber with the most beautiful grain, like salmon. They're nice and thin too, so the visual line pulls your eye from the lounge through the hall and into the second bedroom, making the place feel longer.

Removing that carpet not only instantly raised the value of the property, it also made the whole house feel bigger and brighter. And because I'm an artist and we're used to having this kind of vision, I wasn't surprised at all, I knew this potential lay on the other side of that carpet. Before, I had 'accepted' the space as the closest thing I'd found that would suit my needs, now I love being there, I'm looking forward to moving in just for the pure pleasure of being in such a light bright space.

 Here's a shot standing in the master doorway looking toward the lounge. See there's some classic 1970s wall panelling, thank goodness they went for the classy option of stopping at dado height. It's real wood too, not the laminate stuff, so it looks all Scandi cool rather than trailer park kitsch. Taking that off would be a fuss and bother beyond the worth, and it will blend with my neutral decor later.

 Don't let that clean-looking underlay fool you, that shit was nass-tee.

 Lounge room free of carpet, ready to be sanded and sealed. What floor you say, all I see is a million dollar view!

Well quite. I washed the window after I took that shot- all that dirt is on the inside! I have to wait till the weekend for some fine weather, then I can wash the outside of the house. With a broom and hose, because I'm mad. Mad for housework!!


Anonymous said...

Minimalism is deceptive it can take a lot of discipline to keep a design pure and uncluttered. Look at ikebana, Japanese flower arranging, usually just one or two branches. But they have to be just the right shape and position to work.
Loving those floor boards.

Kimberly said...

That banded agate takes me back, I remember t was fairly ubiquitous back in the 70's. I think you pulled it off with the minimalism with that pair. I feel the same way about simple earrings and simple earring makers.
I myself made 100's of pairs with just 2 lampwork beads and a couple of crystals and sold them like crazy. Now I can hardly think of doing that, it feels like cheating too even though I made the beads.
Those wooden floors are a great way to go. 70's carpet viscerally ooks me out! Looks like quite a project and thanks for the window view.

artistic rejuvenations said...

hmm. second shot. i was thinking about how close our stories are. we bought a 50's era stam home with rusty shag rugs. ripped 'em up and found oak floors! lovely, lovely for you as you found the underlying beauty too.love your work. i think the agate is fab because you made them special; not head pin/ear wire.

beadybaby said...

I love all of your new earrings, elaborate or not. I can spend long periods of time with focal beads, crystals, heishi, round beads, seed beads, etc, trying a hundred different combinations before I like them on the headpin. I think that no matter what the finished product, the more heart, thought, effort that goes in does show. I have had shows where nothing but charms on an earwire sold. In Kansas, those $2 earrings often paid my booth rent! I've been making earrings all day, instead of planning for fast upcoming shows. I did make some little connectors with copper sheet, and it does feel good to fabricate something like that. Plus there's that lovely rotten egg smell wafting through the air.... :-) Cindy

Wildthorne said...

How nice to see your nest in progress, I am envious of those floors! There is nothing like the tone, texture and warmth of wood. This is a beautiful space that you will be inhabiting, and I can't wait to see your creative mind range free and unfettered in it. Those earrings you shared are wonderful. I see that the Venus ones already sold. :) See people like your rustic simplicity. I know what you mean though, I almost never wear jewelry now and people always look at me funny when I tell them what I do.

Happy Fish Handmade With Heart said...

Just a bead and a hook, how many times have I fought the same question in my head... to be or not to be...
- does it sell? (yes)
- do I feel good about making it? (errrrrr... not entirely...)
- is it what I want to be recognized for? (no!)
- and about two dozens of other questions :)
But I'm just a beginner in this area, maybe one day I'll know all the answers :)
Your creations are amazing, and even your 'a bead and a hook' looks exceptionally and wondrously. Great work!!!

Alice said...

I have to force myself to put on the jewelry I make, and even then it's only for special occasions. I just don't like wearing jewelry...yes I'm hopeless.

I'm so glad you uncovered those lovely wood floors. What beautiful wood hiding under that horrible carpet. I inherited a home from my uncle, and the carpet is ugly. I understand there is wood underneath, but it there is a question of it's quality. I don't want to tear up the carpet only to find the wood is bad, as we are planning to sell the place and I don't want to put a bunch of money into it.. What a dilemma.

I'm looking forward to seeing the progression of your work on your new home.

Chelsea said...

This is exactly the way I feel about making earrings! I feel cheap just stringing a bead on a hook. But i think its's better to start there so that you try harder . . . Right? And you and Leo may be spot on - it's the little details that make a simple pair of earrings a piece of art.

Beatnheart said...

What pisses me off is cheap charm from China, bead, earwire...$35....or a pen nib on a earwire for $32...i mean really there is no work involved nor thought cause they just keep cranking them out...I hate to copy something I already did, but I do when things are popular and of course then I don’t have to sweat it out trying to come up with something new and clever... Ideas just don’t come to me that fast >>>i really have to work at it to come up with something...

Looks like some lovely walks where you live...
I hope that you are really happy here..