I welcome the new year with resolutions and a monthly ritual

It’s time again to set some goals I hope to accomplish with the fresh start of a new year.  I looked back at the resolutions I made last year and realized that I have actually incorporated many of them in my work. I have a much cleaner space for working with metal clay, I fire my pieces at 1650º for 2 hours to achieve the greatest density and strength, and I work harden them as part of the finishing process whenever possible. While I sometimes use commercial clasps, I also make and use many of my own design. I did not do any oil painting last winter, but I did take a second workshop with Henry Isaacs and Ashley Bryan in September. I also got my Etsy shop up and running before the end of January. So, making creative resolutions works for me. (More exercise, less sugar, more sleep, less stress, those are all a given. Doesn’t everyone say they are going to do those? )

My creative goals for 2011 include:

1. Get some professional photographs of my work, and have a consultation with a professional on how to best  store and maximize my own photographs.

2. Take better care of my Etsy shop; add items to it on a regular basis. (Which means taking more photographs.)

3. Add to blog daily.

4. Take a lampworking class to see if making glass beads is a feasible addition to my silver work. (I sure like to buy them!)

5. Learn to make and use rivets for cold connections. (A goal I forgot to add last year. Maybe that’s why I didn’t do it?)

6. Drill more rocks, and make many more silver and beach rock necklaces. Below are two of my recent favorites.

A custom order for a Christmas present for someone who’s work I greatly admire. (It was an honor to make this!)

One of my favorite necklaces, that I would have loved to have kept for myself. Though, I know who received it as a present and I’m really glad she has it!

The necklace has 3 beads, made by another metal clay artist, Kate McKinnon. These were the only PMC beads I had that I did not make myself. I bought them from Kate’s site last spring or summer, and they were exactly what I needed for this necklace when I made it in November.

They are solid fine silver, not hollow. Made in the days before the price of precious metal clay went through the roof.

Lucky me. I live on an island  so small that the beach is never far away, and rocks are plentiful. Not every beach is sandy, though, like the one where we go for Dip of the Month! (The ritual I mentioned.)

First dip of the year on New Year’s Day. Islesford 2011. The four of us have been running into the Atlantic waters off the Maine coast, once a month, every month, for 8 years. At this point, no one wants to be the first to give it up and break the dipping streak. We figure it’s a life sport. Other people figure we are nuts. 1-1-11 was a particularly nice day. Air temperature around 42º and no wind. Rare for this time of year.

Stefanie’s hat is from Australia. The corks are supposed to keep mosquitos away. It was working. (Joy’s dog, Bella, wearing a lovely handknit sweater, looks worried that she will have to become a member of the club.)

Stef handed out Mardi Gras beads to wear.

Cindy suggested we swing them around our necks like hula hoops to warm up.

I LOVE this group!

Are you kidding?? The water is never this calm in January.  But it was.

Where’s Joy?        (submerged on the right)

Getting out and just starting to feel the “spa effect” on our skin. Ahhhh………

Water temperature 44º.  Photos by Emily Thomas. Next dip: sometime in February.


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8 responses to “I welcome the new year with resolutions and a monthly ritual

  1. You gals are crazy! :) And I love your work!


    • Barb Fernald

      When the weather was so mild on new year’s eve day, I heard it would be even better for the first of the year. I said to one of my friends, “If it’s going to be so nice we’d be nuts not to get our dip in tomorrow!” She started laughing. Then said, “Well, that’s one way of looking at it.” Thanks for the nice comment about my work!


  2. Susan White

    Love the necklaces, and the pictures of the dip are a hoot!


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  4. Y’all are brave! I can barely get in the water at Salisbury Beach in MA in August! Great post. Girlfriends are the best!


    • Barb Fernald

      I don’t know if we are brave or just stubborn. No one wants to be the first one to cave after 100 consecutive months of getting horizontal in freezing water!
      I believe you, Nancy, win the medal for bravery in my book. You are exactly the person I was thinking of when I went in the water. Good brave energy being sent your way. I hope it feels more like warmth than 37º water!
      xo B


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