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The Chariot Card:

The flesh is not the enemy of the spirit but it’s vehicle. The spirit is not the enemy of the flesh but its expression.

I’ve been stopping by Equinox Gallery frequently to chat with Alejandro Sifuentes, a master jeweler with 40 years of experience. I have been making work more slowly than usual and with a disturbing lack of focus. I came to him for technical help but the advice he gave me was for my head and heart and not my hands. I have a feeling that there are a lot of us that need to hear this every once in a while.

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Please click the link to the right and sign up for my newsletter. I’m working on a new one! ————>skull maskI was invited to participate in a Dia de los Muertos exhibition at Equinox Gallery in San Antonio. The celebrations there are rumored to be fantastic and after some brainstorming, research (ahem… google image searching…), and a few lovely days of playing with my favorite materials I ended up with this mask made of steel wire and silver solder. It’s inspired by decorative sugar skulls, face painting, and you know- architecture and my regular obsessions. From the gallery:

“We will be showcasing works from various artists in a Dia De Los Muertos Exposición reflecting these artists’ diverse interpretations of the symbolism in Dia de los Muertos as a reflection of their own experiences in modern society.”

Featuring:
Andy Denton
Lisette Fee
Lindsay Hendricks
Abigail Huess
Tara Locklear
Avery Lucas
Rachel Matthews
Jillian Palone
Peggy Potts
Caitie Sellers
Alejandro Sifuentes
Atsuko Taniguchi
Sarah West
Leia Zumbro

I’ve seen a few other’s work on instagram and it all looks fun and amazing. I couldn’t help but play with the mask while I had it hanging around the studio. I hope you’ll enjoy these process shots and “model shots” as it were…

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Laying out the pieces

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All soldered up

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The radiant Rachel Rader trying out some expressions

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Ok fine I’ll pose too.

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Mr. Romeo knows how to work the skull mask to maximum effect. Ack!

As y’all know, my time here in Asheville is coming to an end. I’m moving to Houston for my residency and I’m packing my whole life up for a long adventure. The budget is tight and mama has hungry cats to feed over the next transient months. I am hoping that maybe some of you readers might be interested in helping me by grabbing one of these special limited edition pendants I’ve made to honor my departure.

My work is about the experience of travel and finding familiarity in the foreign. Architecture, exposed infrastructure, and other human influences on the environment inform my work. Asheville is a beautiful town, manicured and maintained in a way that makes infrastructure disappear, but a part of this city that will stick with me has been the lamp posts- remnants of the art deco influence popular during the construction of this city. The Asheville Lamp Post Pendant is my goodbye to the town I’ve loved for the last four years, as I move on to new and exciting opportunities.

The pendant is cast from solid bronze or sterling silver, given a beautiful brushed patina, and hung from a 100% silk cord or attached to a sturdy keychain. You can wear it on it’s red cord, attach a chain, clip it to your keys, use it as a zipper pull, rub it for good luck, or whatever you like. The pendant is 1″ long and 1/2″ wide.

Please contact me at caitiesellers@gmail.com to order, or click on the image to shop online. Thank you for everything!!

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Pendant in bronze, $28.

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Pendant in bronze, $28.

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Keychain in bronze, $32.

Keychain in Bronze $32

Keychain in bronze, $32.

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Pendant in sterling silver, $38.

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Pendant in sterling silver, $38.

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Keychain in sterling silver, $42.

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Keychain in sterling silver, $42.

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Caitie Sellers Card back 3

The back of the card… of course.

I bought this thread over a year ago and am only just now getting around to warping the loom. I moved the old girl into my studio when I moved out of my old place and recently put her back together.

I bought this thread over a year ago and am only just now getting around to warping the loom. I moved the old girl into my studio when I moved out of my old place and recently put her back together.

I found out quickly that weaving blankets is NOT like riding a bike. Here is my progress at hour 6 or 7.

I found out quickly that weaving blankets is NOT like riding a bike. Here is my progress at hour 6 or 7.

And here I am after pulling out all that threading... and now I am remembering why I don't weave much anymore.

And here I am after pulling out all that threading… and now I am remembering why I don’t weave much anymore.

And days later I am finally ready to weave.

And days later I am finally ready to weave.

And after the obligatory "this is awful, why am I doing this?" moment...

And after the obligatory “this is awful, why am I doing this?” moment…

I finally started to enjoy it.

I finally started to enjoy it.

And at my other life as a florist, these poppies killed me. I almost started weeping in their presence.

And at my other life as a florist, these poppies killed me. I almost started weeping in their presence.

 

Enjoy something pretty I made before I start blabbering.

It’s been a year, but here it is again- the what-the-heck-am-I-doing-with-my-life blues. I think I was wrong last April- it must come twice a year because I went through it in October, too. I love New Year’s as time for reflection and forward motion, but I think I like it as a holiday so much because I don’t actually do any of that. I drink champagne with my friends and celebrate the end of the holiday season! Reflection? psht. I reserve that for the equinoxes. I think I shall use this valuable weeknight to reflect upon the past year and see if my concerns from April 10, 2011 were founded in reason.

The answer is yes.

“I think I must be having the annual What-the-heck-am-I-doing-with-my-life blues. Very recently I quit the last of my day jobs and now support myself on contract work for other metalsmiths. A freelance jeweler? If that title exists then I am one. Needless to say, I am ecstatic beyond words to work out of my own studio on my own hours with no one to answer to as long as I meet my deadlines. It’s like a dream come true! And also, conversely, I am terrified that this is unsustainable and not only will I find myself having to grudgingly pick up part time jobs after the bliss of self-employment, I will find myself in financial peril. And so life goes on for me now as it ever has before. Second guessing at every step!”

Indeed! Present Caitie remembers Past Caitie fondly. So where am I now? I am forward! And also backwards! First of all- “the bliss of self-employment” was a little optimistic. I have been working my own hours, yes, but other people have been paying me and though I love them very much, I still answer to them at the end of the day (or week, depending on my schedule.) So self-employed? Not so much. Blissful? Right. Being a contract worker means that I only get work when someone has work to give me. It doesn’t matter how many hours someone wants to promise when they’re feeling overwhelmed, you only get what there is. There were months when I had enough, months with too much, and the last few have been far, far too little. I love working on my own, but I like grocery shopping, too. I have struggled against my true nature of insecurity and sensitivity over the slow months, thinking that I had done something wrong to make my clients give me less work. It’s not a great way to get a good night’s rest.

On to “sustainability.” My doubts were confirmed 4 months later when the stress of the repetition I was asked to perform for my clients rendered my right hand (known as The Business hand) temporarily useless. I would like to say that thanks to the most awesome acupuncturist ever and a new found enthusiasm for bodily activity I’ve gotten all of that under control.

Then I should mention that I have picked up part-time jobs, ones that take me out of the studio for WHOLE DAYS. I’ve worked in floral design before and I have found my hand skills and general enthusiasm for giving my employers a reason to pay me a valuable asset even in this economy. I miss the studio like I knew I would if I had to earn my living outside it, but I sure do love a steady paycheck. Also, human interaction and physical activity is ok, too. I really like my flower shop job! Why did I think it would be the end of all good things?

So there I am. At this moment I have no contract jobs at all (though there are always a few rumors of more) and I’m doing very close to full time at the flower shop. I have applied to and been rejected from 6 out of 7 opportunities since January, the last one is still out for jurying. I can handle rejection, it stings but I’m keeping my head on about it. I have been given or can think of very logical reasons for jurors not to include me in their shows. That’s fine, but what bothers me is the fact that I paid $250 for all that rejection! Application fees!

One thing I look forward to critiquing in my 2013 spring report includes the collaborative project I’ve started with my friend/studio-mate, Matt Smith. We’re working on a line of jewelry and I am maybe having the most fun EVER keeping the blog and facebook page for our little company, Polyester Pomegranate. I also write the blog and facebook for my flower shop, Blossoms at Biltmore Park. Turns out I’m kind of good at this stuff, having had all of the meaningful conversations in my formative years take place over AOL Instant Messenger. Go figure conversational self absorption would ever become a business skill. I’m also going to SNAG’s metalsmithing conference as a speaker in a month or two- something that gives me both stress nightmares and hope for actually having a career one day.

And so begins another year of self doubt. I’ve had disappointments this year but the biggest ones had little to do with my work, my business, or my various rejections- they’ve been because of my own expectations of myself. Maybe I shouldn’t have thought I could demand my right hand to do something for weeks after it gave me all those signals to take a break. Maybe I shouldn’t have put all my eggs in the freelance metalsmithing basket, cause man that’s a small basket. I swear I am so happy with what I’ve learned since last April. It has been worth every aspirin. Hopefully the Maya Calendar will not explode when Snooki has her baby and I’ll be able to freak out like this again next year.

So I have stuff! Plenty of it. Here’s a peek:

Tomorrow I am participating in Asheville’s 4th Pecha Kucha night. So first of all, it’s pronounced pe-CHAK-cha, apparently, and otherwise it’s a design forum where anyone with an idea shows 20 slides for 20 seconds apiece and tells their story, everybody only gets 6 minutes and 40 seconds. This one’s at the Asheville Art Museum at 7pm tomorrow. $7 covers the show, food, and drink. I’ll be showing photos of Guatemala, drawings, and my last line of sculpture while talking about my process. There’s about 10 of us. Check out more here at the Pecha Kucha website. I am literally already nervous.

Then on Friday my studio has its official grand opening, which is some pretty exciting stuff. Food, drink, art, and schmoozing! Honk if you love Pink Dog Creative, or just come in between 5-10. The Junction, a delicious bar and restaurant in the building, will also have it’s opening. I think I heard rumors of a DJ?

THEN on Saturday and Sunday Asheville’s River Arts District will be hosting their bi-annual studio stroll. We at Pink Dog will all have our doors open. We want you to come, see the art, ask questions, have a good time. Check out my new studio and my rad friends’ work- Matt Smith, my favorite studio mate/ jeweler, Johanna Smick, talented and passionate book-binder, Seth Weizenecker, crazy windsor chair dovetail enthusiast, and 11 others.

Come by and say hello!

Hi friends! I’m back as promised with some news. First up, I’ll be in a show at the Visual Arts Center in Richmond, Va called TACIT.Everyone in the show is a recent VCU Crafts Department alumni, and I’m happy and honored to be included with some of my favorite people, Meg Roberts and Adam Whitney, not to mention some incredibly inspiring and impressing crafts-peers. The show opens next Friday, February 4th and I’ll be at the opening!

I will also be sending over some charms for the Society for Contemporary Craft’s Charmed II Exhibition. More than 20 jewelers will be exhibiting 3-5 charms each for sale in The Store and online. The Store will have a range of bracelets, chains, and earring wires available, too. This event begins on February 10th, I’ll post an update when everything comes available online!

And lastly, I made a little book on Blurb, a cheap and easy book publishing site, documenting the process and inspiration for the series of sculptures I’ve been working on the last two years. Check it out here, and flip through it at the TACIT exhibition!