Saturday, January 4, 2014

Learning To Play in 2013 And Beyond

When you are reading this post on Saturday, my husband and I will be busy taking down the Christmas tree and returning our living room to its normal, everyday appearance.  And while packing away the ornaments and the Christmas stockings, it seems appropriate to reflect upon the past year and to think about where my life journey might lead in 2014.
Preparing to write this post was a good exercise for me.  It made me realize how much exploration I did this past year.  I kind of surprised myself!  I started 2013 with Kerry Bogart's month-long  "Aspire To Wire" e-course.  I learned a lot from Kerry and it boosted my wire working confidence.  Since then, I have been making more of my own clasps, earwires, bails etc. and I plan to do even more in that direction in 2014.  Lately, I have been pushing my wire work skills even further, while working with Cindy Wimmer's new book, "The Missing Link".
Chris, (a local friend), and I started playing with enamels this year.  She has an awesome studio set up and she helped me get started and gave me pointers on how improve my technique.  I discovered that it is fun and inspiring to have some shared studio time with a friend!
I also got together with fellow AJE member, Kristi Bowman, several times this past year.  Kristi lives about 1.5 hours north of me.  We shared a booth at a couple of shows.  We work well together when vending and we have fun joking and talking shop.  We are planning some shared studio time in the upcoming year, also!
Kristi & I in the center, with lampwork artists Lara Lutrick (left) and Lori Bergaman (right).


Kristi and I also attended a metal retreat together, hosted by AJE member Francesca Watson and Melissa Muir.  I had a pinched nerve in my back and missed about half of the week-long retreat, but I am grateful for the time I could be there.  I became more confidant with the torch, and experimented with pewter casting, the use of a hydraulic press and a rolling mill.  I also made a bunch of wonderful new friends.  Kristi and I are already looking forward to the 2014 metal retreat!
Recently I've become intrigued with polymer clay.  I'm not much interested in "traditional" cane work, but rather in textures and surface decoration.  Kristi gave me an old pasta machine of hers and some 2 part mold.  I purchased a toaster oven and am anxious to give it a go in 2014.  I even collected and pressed ginkgo leaves (see below) when I was in Germany this past October.  Won't they make cool impressions for a polymer clay pendant?
The last 2 months of 2013 saw me experimenting with WoolyWire.  I love the texture and rich colors this hand-dyed wool brings to jewelry.  I know I'll be incorporating it in my work in 2014, as well.
The most recent development has me completely baffled.  I've begun doodling.  My mother sketched and painted and my brother has done illustrations in magazines and newspapers.  He has had his cartoons published in the New Yorker, and has illustrated 3 children's books.  I could never draw worth beans and just assumed that my brother got the total allotment of painterly DNA available for my parent's offspring.
Suddenly I've wanted to draw.  I was scared at 1st, because there's a strong line of perfectionism in my family and that trait can be both a blessing and a curse.  It is a curse, if you feel you have to somehow measure up to some imagined standard set by your mother and brother's gifts.  So I doodled secretly....don't laugh!  Then a couple of weeks ago, I just decided to h*** with feeling like I had to  excel at everything I do.  Its more than okay to just play and have fun for the sheer joy of it.  I'm not even drawing bead designs.  Just playing with shapes, colors and shading.  I have no training in art and no clue about techniques.  I don't know if this will be incorporated somehow into coloring polymer clay or if it is just an amusing diversion. And wonder of wonders, I no longer feel the need for this to be leading to a "productive" end-point.  Its is not a competition.  Its healthy to play and explore. My mind and heart are open and I'll see where 2014 takes me.

Linda Landig Jewelry – ArtFire 
Linda Landig Jewelry – Etsy


  1. A wonderful year full of discovery. I'm so jealous you can meet up with other artists and learn new techniques with them. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do in this new year.

  2. You sure have had some fun in 2013! I was interested to see that you are doodling. I have never drawn a thing myself but was looking at the local library for "how to draw" books for my young grandson. I discovered a grown up book called "A Zentangle a Day". I had a lot of fun with it but then the holidays put the brakes on my efforts, but my daughter got me my own copy for Yule so I will be working on Zentangling this coming year. The abstract shapes appeal to me for jewelry designs and polymer clay stamps. If you are enjoying your doodling, check the book out. It's lots of fun. I also found a simpler version called Zenspirations at our local JoAnn's and used my gift card to buy that one. it's supposed to be great for opening up your creative left brain. I'll be watching to see where you go with your doodles and other endeavors.

  3. An amazing year for you! I look forward to what you explore this year.

  4. So envious of all your learning! The pewter casting sounds awesome. I've been wanting to try enamel and have been collecting the supplies but I'm intimidated--it seems so much easier to try new things with an experienced friend to guide the way. I think your what-the-h*** doodling is a sign of new creativity and new directions to come! I can't really draw either, but I too love to color--I had a Lion King and a Little Mermaid coloring book many years ago that I had a blast coloring in. Coloring books are a totally no-pressure way to amuse your muse.


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