One More Museum on the Way to the Airport

It will remain with me as long as I have a memory, that wild ride to Boston Museum of Fine Art that my mother insisted we could squeeze in for 45 minutes before our late night flight home out of Logan Airport. I was 12, wearing my newly acquired Harvard t-shirt that no one could pry off me plus about 14 other layers to cope with the unkind March weather. I was freezing outside and miserably hot inside the museum when my mother insisted we run to the Renoir exhibit. I will never forget how beautiful Girl with a Watering Can was nor how much more comfortable she looked compared to how I felt.

I was patient for Girl with a Hoop too, then I was just done. “We’re going to the ancient Egyptian collection and spending every last moment there!” I challenged. My mother had gotten a fraction of her desired Renoir fix despite all my and her best friend’s protests that we didn’t have time to stop at BFMA. Now it was my turn. - The collection seemed really small. I couldn’t believe there wasn’t more somewhere. There probably was, and there certainly is more now. 

I think we were the last people to board the airplane, but we did make that flight. To this day when I bring it up to my mother, she reminds me that she was right, that we had time.

Everyone has defining moments in life, those early memories that stick and seem to explain so much about who we are. That 45 minute Renoir and mummies run is mine. My whole existence seems to be founded on the idea that I can fit one more thing in and live to tell the tale. When people ask how I am, I’ve gone back to saying, “fine.” “Busy” as a reply has become too cliche, and I find that what the term busy means to most people is what the term vacation means to me. When people ask what I’m working on right now, I often reply, “uh….” and stare like a deer in headlights, thinking I’m working on so many things at one time that I don’t know where to start explaining. I figure people can’t really be interested enough for the 20 minutes of my nonstop talking it would take to hit the highlights of my master task list.

A very friendly peacock at
Los Poblanos Inn where the final
round of the Saul Bell Design Award
judging took place
If “yes, we can” was my mother’s key parenting style, then clearly the worst thing she ever said to me flies in the face of this philosophy: “There will never be enough time to make into reality all the ideas you have.” - Rule #1: My mother is the most enthusiastic person on the planet. She makes the average Border Collie look like it has a vague interest in herding. Rule #2: When she contradicts herself, refer to Rule #1. (Rule #3: Watch out! My mother reads my blog.)

I’m a rebel to the core, as every good kid posing as an adult should be. The trouble is, I’m never sure if I’m rebelling when I don’t squeeze in one more essential thing to do, or if I’m rebelling when I try to implement all my better ideas. I don’t ask for time to do all my ideas, just the really good ones. I’m not completely crazy.
With All Chained Up and
Russian Filigree workshop
students, Tanya and Jesse at Creative Side
Jewelry Academy of Austin

Last month I flew to Austin, TX to teach a one-day All Chained Up workshop and a two-day Russian Filigree workshop, plus a meet and greet with a demo and talk by yours truly at Creative Side Jewelry Academy. From there I flew to Albuquerque to judge the final round of the 2015 Saul Bell Design Awards, then I had four days at home (sort of) before taking off for Minneapolis to teach a 3-day Eastern Repousse workshop at Quench Jewelry Arts. All three workshops were sold out, and all three were a blast to teach! 

While in Austin I caught up with my longest (I won't say oldest) friend, Cheri. In Albuquerque I got to catch up with good friends, Molly Bell and Ronda Coryell. In Minneapolis I got to spend time with Judith Kinghorn (before heading to the airport!). Getting to know Courtney Gray of Creative Side and Sarah Michaela Sitarz of Quench was exceptionally fun and inspiring. 
Meet & greet at CSJA

The Saul Bell Design Award finals judging
with fellow judges Todd Reed
and Blaine Lewis and
Rio Grande President, Alan Bell
photo: Kayla Torres

Of course the whole reason I was in Austin and Minneapolis was to work with more than 30 students whose creative endeavors I had the privilige to help expand. That's in addition to the incredible artwork I got to hold during the SBDA judging and the wonderfully supportive mates, friends, kids, and fur kids with whom I had a blast in all my travels. I suppose I should have been in social overload by the time I got home, but instead I was in withdrawal by the next Tuesday. As I've said before it's the stories people share that I carry home with me and hold dear. 

The number one question I get asked is, "When do you find time to create all your artwork?!?" Somehow when I was young I thought success looked like less work for more money, but I have found that instead, real success involves being in demand. The problem is that those ideas my mother warned me about don’t stop coming, and most of the work I do simply can’t be crammed into 45 minutes on the way to somewhere. 

The Saul Bell Design Award
finalsjudging with fellow
judges Todd Reed,
Blaine Lewis,
and Janet Deleuse
photo: Kayla Torres
Non-creative people who think they know what I do have some erroneous belief that I sit around all day making pretty jewelry. Enlightening them to the contrary involves my same deer in headlights, “uh…” reply described above.

With students from my
Eastern Repousse workshop
at Quench Jewelry Arts in Minneapolis

If I hadn’t seen those Renoir’s my life would look extremely different partly because of how deeply their technique and beauty affected me and partly because I persevere based on this ridiculous ideal that I can do it all. If I had a more practical approach to life there is much I would not have experienced and much I would not have created. 

I woke up to snow my last morning in
Albuquerque! The inn's white peacock
refused to get out of his nightly perch.
It's all about a balancing act with time, my ability to wear 46 different hats to do all that I do, and enjoying the journey with my fellow travelers.

The view from atop the pueblo of
Acoma Sky City, NM

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